Band: Mike Kershaw
CD Title: Arms Open Wide
Label: Bad Elephant Music (2018)
Rating: Fine set of Proggy styled singer-songwriter tunes
Arms Open Wide is album number five for finance-worker turned singer-songwriter Mike Kershaw. As on his previous release What Lies Beneath heís working with a talented crew of musicians to help facilitate his musical vision. The forty-seven minute CD made up of nine compositions opens with the four-part, twenty-two minute epic Fear Suite. Setting aside the linking of those first four tunes, each of these compositions comes in between four and seven minutes. Stylistically I was reminded of music crafted in the mold of Tiras Buck, Steve Thorne and maybe a bit of Guy Manning and Roger Waters. Kershaw is first and foremost as mentioned a songwriter with things to say. That means each of his songs on Arms Open Wide are more-or-less structured in a traditional verse-chorus-verse style. That doesnít mean there arenít some interesting musical interludes or songs that feature long-ish introductions or mid-song musical change-ups, itís just that these arenít the focus of the Kershawís musical style. Those proggy embellishments, well-crafted as they are tend to be peripheral to the many lyrical messages heís trying to convey with his singing. Word is this disc is ďangrier and darkerĒ than his previous release. Alas this being the first music Iíve heard from Kershaw I can neither confirm nor deny that claim. What I can say is Arms Open Wide is an intriguing set of songs, with messages that will appeal to some and probably be ignored by others. If you enjoy the music created by the individuals mentioned above I suspect the music of Mike Kershaw will be right up your alley.