Most definitely hitting the ground running with their latest single are the Smokin' Novas, "How I Know Grace" is something of a blistering introduction to a new record - they've thrown everything at this single and all of it has stuck in a magnificent mixture of blues, country and Irish sounds with a dash of Springsteen for good measure. It sounds like the best of all those elements happening simultaneously and what could be a bit of a car crash is actually wonderfully uplifting.
The Smokin' Novas are Brian Bristow and Andrew Hyra, Mr Hyra notable for having been in an early 90's duo with Kristian Bush and also having Meg Ryan for a sister however if this single is anything to go by it will be soon be Meg being asked about her more famous brother!!
This single explodes from the very start, as its initial drum intro, is joined by harmonica, organ, and piano and we find the singer reminiscing with a definite Irish lilt to his voice
"I remember you now like it was yesterday, with you hair flowing black as you gave me away
Just as wild as Spring on the green Irish Sea, It's all coming back to me now"
There's time for 2 solos, a simply gorgeous piano one from Rolling Stones Band leader Chuck Leavell and a fine guitar one to follow although almost subdued in comparison.
That feeling of looking back, vivdly recalling someone no longer there, so intensely she is almost visile returns towards the end of the song
"I can see you in red birds and blue bonnets near
and that is how I know you're still here
I can make you as real as the smile on my face
that is how I know Grace"
Each chorus is a wonderful mix of lead vocals and backing harmonies, that seems to spiral upward to great effect to accompany the full on band sound.
It leaves us with the poingnant line
"I don't want to leave you behind"
this is really quite magnificent.
Smokin' Novas will be heading to the UK soon