CMJ New Music Monthly was the perfect way to discover new songs back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Every month the magazine would provide listeners with a brand new CD filled to the brim with songs from all over, many from bands who would go on to become huge acts.
It was Volume 52 of CMJ, in December of 1997, that I found today’s musician, Bill Fox. Accompanied by bands like The Foo Fighters, Chumbawamba and more, the final track on this disc was a hypnotizing tune called Over and Away She Goes.
Why This Album?
Shelter From the Smoke is a stripped down lo-fi album consisting of a collection of songs that showcase the raw talent behind Bill Fox’s unassuming visage. To look at Bill, you would never guess that this guy had a talent that equals that of Bob Dylan and the best his folk artists contemporaries. Each song on the album feels like it was stripped from Bill’s soul and transformed into a song just for the listener’s enjoyment.
Throughout, there is not an ounce of overproduction or studio trickery, Instead Fox chooses to rely on simple guitar rhythms and vocal harmonies to present an album full of fragile tunes and gorgeous melodies. The collection of songs is a mix of traditional folk sounds and tracks that feel as if they were pulled from the early albums of The Who. The whole time though, Bill Fox manages to remain humble, restricting his songs to only their basic forms. It is because of this simplicity that this album manages to be something special, something that remains, to this day, one of my favorites.
Of course, Over and Away She Goes. In what sounds like the most produced song on the album it is also the first and one that I find fascinating in it’s simplicity.
Way Way Down. This one feels like it could have been stripped right off of The Who’s My Generation album showing Fox’s range beyond his folk roots.
I’m Not Over Loving You. This one channels Bob Dylan including his trademark harmonica but manages to remain unique the whole time.
Ok, Where do I get it?
Unfortunately this album is currently out of print but you can still listen to in via Spotify here. If you like Bob Dylan and stripped down acoustic endeavors, this one is for you. It is solid throughout while remaining true to it’s style the whole time. In many ways, this album feels like the it could have been the inspiration for some of Jack White’s music with the White Stripes but on a lower register.
All in all, the album is worth your attention and you should give it a spin. Till Next Time,
Late to the Game 10/15/19
Thanks for reading, If you would like to read more reviews I have a weekly series called Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday and also check out some retro tv goodness with the ongoing series Retro TV Reviews here. You can also find a few of my other Music Reviews Here.
As always, please feel free to comment below and share your experiences with these movies as well. If you just happened by, tell me what you think! Don’t Forget To Follow us if you like the blog!