Gareth Dylan Smith aka Dr. Drums

Gareth Dylan Smith

Gareth Dylan Smith IS Dr. Drums, and in addition to his own blogging, he’s agreed to join us on the HorizonVU Music Blog and SHOP. Drawing from his teaching, and most definitely, his experience as a heavy duty rocker and drummer of the band “The Eruptors” http://www.eruptors.com/ Gareth is going to bring us great VUs and reVUs in keeping with HorizonVU Music’s focus on women in rock, alternative and folk.



Rachael Travers is a folk singer from London, England. There are plenty of these, and they seem to be especially prevalent at the moment, following the collective decision of mainstream media to focus their gaze for a season on ‘nu-folk’. However, against a backdrop of Marlings, Mumfords and Staves, what sets Travers apart in this nebulous UK ‘scene’ is her voice – a uniquely beguiling instrument in which she combines the purity of Alison Krauss, the playful agility of Dolly Parton and a heart-wrenching emotional palette approaching the depth of Jeff Buckley. With lyrics that are direct and suggest a youthful naiveté, Travers visits some deeply personal spaces in her music; her songs are strength and tenderness, conversation and introspection, confidence and uncertainty. She reels in her listeners, addressing all of the songs to ‘you’, with memorable original melodies She tends to perform either alone with her guitar, or accompanied by a band that includes banjo, mandolin, double bass, drums, and harmony vocals reminiscent of Emmy-Lou Harris with Gram Parsons. I attended a performance in the spring of this year where Travers showcased new material at a songwriters’ circle in North West London. The songs were disarmingly honest, her performance powerful, and the entire audience wrapt, spellbound.

With live shows being rare (a delicacy not to be missed) and often announced at short notice, a selection of Travers’ music is available on her 2011 Ivy Road EP. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Travers disrobes emotionally on this touchingly intimate clutch of songs that take the listener on a journey through an undulating landscape of love. On the opening track, ‘Forgive Me’, she sings of love unattainable, and leaves us ‘clenching on to the night, with nowhere else to go’. She declares frustration at God, whom she later rejects completely in the final song when she sings ‘I don’t believe in God no more, I’m sorry to say’. The title track is a soothing, beautiful and impassioned reminder to a companion about a path taking him or her to where ‘you’re loving again’. ‘All I ask’ sees Travers at her breathiest and most needy, and also her most defiant, in a song of unrequited love in which she ultimately confesses in the poignant final line that ‘all my world would fall apart, if you weren’t in my heart’. On ‘You are the One’ she is upbeat and feisty, angry over more unrequited love. She dismisses her would-be suitor, admitting nonetheless that ‘I dream of your hand for me to hold’. It is on this cut that she sounds most like Dolly Parton, showcasing a Nashville finesse that few of her contemporaries pull off with such alacrity. The final song, ‘No More’, features Travers’ voice at its most intimate. A slow crescendo, this might be the cream of the crop. It is a plea for autonomy and some space of her own; her pure, crystal voice soars high into the distance, away from her suffocating, controlling lover.

Travers tells listeners that ‘all I ask is for your love’. You can start by accessing most of the songs from Ivy Road here: http://soundcloud.com/rachaeltravers, where Rachael Travers sings of her heart.

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