Tiger Moth Tales -
The Depths Of Winter

(CD 2017, 71:14, White Knight Records, WKCD1117)

The tracks:
  1- Winter Is Coming(0:32)
  2- Winter Maker(10:52)
  3- Exposure(13:36)
  4- The Ballad Of Longshanks John(6:59)
  5- Migration(2:59)
  6- Take The Memory(7:13)
  7- Sleigh Ride(6:39)
  8- The Tears Of Frigga(11:43)
  9- Hygge(9:15)
10- Winter's End(1:34)

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Peter Jones has delivered his third album, The Depths Of Winter in the form of his Tiger Moth Tales. The debut album Cocoon (see review) from 2014, and the second album Story Tellers Part One (see review) from 2015 preceded this album. Peter is a multi-instrumentalist from Great Britain.

Peter has played almost all instruments himself, here and there he made use of some guest appearances. The drums are programmed, but you barely hear this and is therefore a perfect solution. Peter has been blind for most of his life, the more special I think it is that he can play all of these instruments. That deserves respect.

When I read the title of the CD The Depths Of Winter, I actually think of a warm bath. This feels wonderful to drag myself through the cold of the winter. 'Do my thoughts connect to his album?' is the question that comes to mind.

I want to stand still at the cover of the album, because what you see is a beautiful picture. I see a snowy landscape, in the middle a tree through which the sun shines and beautiful clouds at the sky. I also see people walking on one side of the tree (hint to the track Exposure) and on the other side of the tree I see an animal (hint to the track Migration). You can see that the cover has been thought about.

The album starts with a nice intro on flute (Emma Friend) and invites you to continue listening. Winter Maker is typically such a track in which a lot happens. There are many different phases in the song. What is striking is the emotional singing of Pete, brass parts performed by Sara Baldwin (flugelhorn), Joe Heartfield (tenor trombone), Steve Bottomley (BBb bass), Sarah Wardle (tenor horn), Andy Baldwin (euphonium), Mark Wardle (flugelhorn) and a beautiful, sensitive guitar solo by Luke Machine (Maschine and The Tangent) that lasts no less than two minutes and where there is room for improvisation.

Exposure is the longest track of the album and clocks 13.36 minutes. It has a mysterious and threatening intro in which beautiful keyboard parts pass by. Recovered from the Exposure? There is room for a wonderful, quiet, lingering guitar solo. At the same time you can hear a fanning keyboard solo, a kind of duo solo! And again, Recovered from the Exposure? There is a lot of space after which there is a reprise of the mysterious intro. After this there is, again, room for the emotional vocals of Pete, supported by his beautiful keyboard playing. And again, Recovered from the Exposure? We now clock 5.30 minutes, a second wonderful guitar solo is coming. I have not yet recovered from this one or a third one needs to arrive and knocks at your door, along with a keyboard solo. After this wonderful double solo there is a transition to a more up-tempo part, introduced by the keys. Again there is room for a long spun out keyboard solo. After this there is, again, a revival of the intro, after which a fourth guitar solo cuts right through your soul. This solo is played with so much feeling that you feel the tears running down your cheeks, you have permission, it is allowed and good, let them out! Pete sings again in his emotional way, after which there is room again for a quiet, spun out keyboard solo that lasts until the end of the song and fades out. You are inclined to press the pause button after this song to recover from so many beautiful and emotional things. This is music and feelings from the top shelf. I do love this song the most of all songs at the disc!!

The Ballad Of Longshanks John is an ode to Robin Hood. After about twenty seconds of a storyteller you hear the Celtic sounds, challenging and cosy. It is even danceable and a smile is automatically created on your face. There is, as in Winter Maker, a nice brass part . This is majestic and orchestral, blissful. The vocals that follow take a lead role in this part of the song. Once again you can enjoy the Celtic music and the brass parts. The track ends abruptly.

Migration is a ballad with a nice part on clarinet. Take The Memory is also a beautiful ballad where the clarinet gets a leading role. It is an ode to the dog Barley of Pete, whose barking ends the song, how applicable. Sleigh Ride is a cheerful, instrumental song. In my imagination it is, as if you are making a sled, adventurous sounding music, even orchestral. A sense of victory comes to mind. The guitar plays a very important role in this song.

The Tears Of Frigga is a song that falls in the Christmas style. There is room for details, some distorted vocals, jazz influences and I also think this is the most proggy song on the album. At the end there is a two-minute keyboard solo, so beautiful. Hygge is characterized by harmony and after 5.45 minutes there is a guitar solo that goes through marrow and bone, what an emotion, wow... A real Peter solo for me, you recognize these kinds of solos from thousands, so beautifully played, so much feeling. Here you can sneak into the influence of Steve Hackett. After this wonderful song the album ends with Winter's End, the winter is coming to an end and you feel the spring coming.

What really strikes me are the strong lyrics to the songs, because of this it feels even more as a total picture.

All-in all I can say that this is a wonderful, sensitive album in which you make a nice trip with Peter Jones as your guide. Do my thoughts about the warm bath match how I experienced the album? Wholeheartedly I can answer this question with a big YES, but of course you had already drawn that conclusion yourself. Even now the spring is coming, I am still in the bath when the album is playing. For the time being I will stay here for a while, I suspect. Big compliments to Pete Jones who rises above himself with this album. It also gives him the maximum rating of five stars. Highly, highly recommended!!!

***** Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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