Shallow Bed by Dry The River is one of my favourite albums of 2012, so you can imagine my excitement at the thought of an acoustic version of their beautiful debut. I would like to personally thank Dry The River for this fantastic Christmas present. They have taken the original 11 tracks and recorded acoustic versions of them, as you can tell by the album title. I’m stating the obvious. However, you would imagine there wouldn’t be much of a difference between the two records but Dry The River have altered the tracks so they are uniquely beautiful versions. Making the tracks acoustic emphasises Peter Liddle’s wonderful vocals as they are stripped back and raw. Dry The River have a talent for changing the original songs but still retaining their original flare and the appeal that made them so perfect to start with.
My favourite tracks on the original album ‘New Ceremony’ and ‘No Rest’ are adapted so that the focus is simply on the beautiful guitar melody and Peter’s haunting, echoing vocals. On the original Shallow Bed these tracks take you on a journey from soft and gentle to bellowing and anthemic. You only have to see Dry The River live to see how their songs develop into powerful, epic monsters onstage. Yet the new acoustic versions highlight their talent, away from all the noise. The waning violin on many of the tracks is something that is occasionally lost in the percussion heavy originals and is now brought to the forefront in the acoustic setting. For me the lyrics take centre stage. The stripped-back-ness of the whole thing makes you sit up and listen. Especially on the likes of ‘Bible Belt’ and the a cappella rendition of ‘Animal Skins’ where Matthew Taylor, Peter Liddle and Scott Miller harmonise perfectly.
Dry The River on their latest tour have indicated their love for acoustic music by playing their encore in the middle of the crowd. Their recent performance at The Oxford Gathering it was no different. Unplugged and beautiful. People may ask what the reasoning behind this version of the already perfect debut is. Why has it come into existence? Yet, it makes me think, why question it? It’s beautiful, lovely and easy on the ear. I have no complaints. It has given me the choice: to enjoy the rock/folk at the heart of the original or to go for a calmer, acoustic version of some of my favourite songs. This, for me, means more to choose from. So, thanks again Dry The River. High fives all round.