What’s the story?
Mark Peters last made an album to chart his move back to Wigan in 2018. On the rather wonderful and vividly descriptive Innerland he made a windswept musical documentary of his travels, capturing the North of England in all its glory.
Now as he returns to the album format his gaze is cast much further afield – to America. Red Sunset Dreams is a form of ‘ambient country’ music, using Peters’ trademark style of slowly shifting panoramas but bringing authentic instruments to the table, using banjo and steel guitar in the creation of these dusty images.
What’s the music like?
Red Sunset Dreams is in keeping with previous Mark Peters albums, but now with added American flavour, giving a real sense of time and place. It is bookended by two magical contributions from Dot Allison. The first is the breathy Switch On The Sky, beautifully matched by the sonic clouds in Peters’ production, the beat slowly making its way across the sky and the unmistakable, friendly patter of the banjo. Now Is The Time is the encouraging mantra with which she ends. Sundowning ends the album in a blaze of light, a wordless contribution this time that is boosted by sensitively placed lap steel guitar.
Peters’ use of instruments is notable. The banjo appears again in Tamaroa, taking a prominent role, while the distinctive tones of pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole hold sway in Silver River. A spacious backdrop for Dusty Road Ramble really sets the scene, the listener able to picture the scenery as it trundles past, while Red Sunset Dreams itself is wide open and spacious, a richly coloured reverie for the listener to fully indulge in.
Does it all work?
It does. Peters has an instinctive pacing in all his work, knowing just how long to make the tracks, when to push on and when to pull back and appreciate the musical scenery. All are wonderfully in place here, with the added bonus of more instruments to create the evocative moments.
Is it recommended?
Absolutely. Red Sunset Dreams is a fine addition to the Mark Peters canon.