Album: Terry de Castro – A Casa Verde

Wedding Present bass player Terry de Castro’s debut solo album is a collection of cover versions written by her friends. The songs, which are not necessarily by well-known or famous artists, are recast by Terry on steel guitar and banjo to create a low-key, distinctly American feel.

A Casa Verde kicks off with a country version of ‘Dalliance’ by David Gedge of the Wedding Present. The original’s edgy production by Steve Albini is ditched in favour of accoustic rhythms and sliding pedal steel overlay.

It’s a bold start and segue ways nicely into the dark and languid ‘East St. O’Neill’ by Hank Starrs of London band, Animals that Swim. The third track changes direction again with a country waltz version of ‘The Sun is Always Sweetest’, by Dean Hawksley of Temple Cloud Country Club.

The unique treatment which each song gets, makes it a difficult album to pin down or to describe, with each song telling its own story in a distinctive but understated way. But it’s as though Terry is relying on the relationships between the artists to knit this eclectic and very personal collection into a coherent piece of work.

There are songs by Astrid Williamson of Terry’s old band, Goya Dress, which sound a bit like Elliot Smith.And some deft harmonies on the version of ‘Like You Believe It’ by Paul Hiraga of Downpilot.

Terry has taken an unusual approach to recording her debut album, relying exclusively on contributions form other songwriters. And perhaps the album fails to make a vivid impression because it lacks a strong individual input. But it would be a mistake to confuse Terry’s humility for blandness though as she is clearly an accomplished and sensitive artist.

Words: Jon Cheetham