Album Reviews

Album Review: Delaney Davidson & Barry Saunders – Word Gets Around (Rough Diamond/Southbound)

Roger Bowie

This is a little record which appears to have come out of nowhere. But in fact, it has its genesis a few years back when Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders met for the first time, on the road, in a church, on the 2015 Lost Highway Church Tour with Marlon Williams and Tami Neilson. What, met for the first time? Can’t be true. They must have met in a previous life, if not in this one, such is the timeless nature of the collaboration which is prefaced in the title (whispering, windswept, whirling, gossipy tales), and the cover.

Two shabby suits, ties loose, shirt hanging out, been up all night, looking both sheepish and sinister, and on the inside cover just a little bit…. well…. busted.
Men who are up to no good, con-men, swag men, artists…….. scheming, lost, broke, depressed…diamonds in the rough. This, boys, is your life.


Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders

Yet when the opening track, Nineteen Days, bursts forth, with its “April Sun”-like riff and driving beat, it is apparent that this is an upbeat, positive collection of songs, more optimistic than the imagery might suggest.

The title track follows, continuing the driving force, the tenor highs of Saunders, the baritone snarl of Davidson. Accordant harmony. There’s just no stopping the fact that Word Gets Around.

Out Of Our Hands follows. Pick the voices apart if you can:
“It’s a manic and barnstorming balance”, says Davidson, “at times, when we were singing, we couldn’t tell whose voice was whose”

Ah, well, it was a forever deal made in blood and fused by lightning, as Saunders describes the inevitability of the coming together of two of the foremost Americana talents which New Zealand has bred and continues to breed. The dark, brooding, manic, ‘take that’ nasal Delaney Davidson pitch, blending with the journeyman credentials of the veteran Warratahs’ frontman. Darkness and light, country, soul, gospel, rock, blues and folk: Americana!

Stolen River could be a Warratahs song, but who cares?

Then the blended moaning blues of Special Rider, with Saunders taking lead.

Snarling Davidson following on Make Your Own Luck, which could be a joint autobiographical effort mirroring the album imagery. For sure, that’s the life of the itinerant musician. No-one else, all alone, just work hard, get lucky, get by.

Blues In This Room slows down the pace with the beauty of accordant harmony. All Fall Down is classic Delaney. Discordant harmony. Long Way Home is classic Barry Saunders. A road oft travelled.

And then it’s over. Short and sweet. Nine perfectly formed little nuggets. Already polished. Buried in the swamp. Dig it.

Produced by Delaney Davidson. Mixed and recorded by Jol Mulholland. Davidson and Saunders play all the instruments except drums. That would be Mulholland on drums.

Discovered deep down in Lyttleton, Delaney Davidson and Barry Saunders, a couple of Rough Diamonds.

See them early May on tour. Buy the album from April 26th. Drop into Southbound Records.

Make sure the word gets around.

delaney and saunders2

Delaney Davidson & Barry Saunders – Word Gets Around Tour

Friday 3rd May - Wine Cellar, Auckland, with band*
Saturday 4th May - Wine Cellar, Auckland, as duo*
Sunday 5th May - Sawmill Café, Leigh, with band (Matinee)*
Friday 10th May - St Peters Hall, Paekakariki, with band*
Saturday 11th May - Meow, Wellington, with band*
Friday 17th May - Blue Smoke, Christchurch, with band*
Saturday 18th May - The Cook, Dunedin, with band*

Tickets from UnderTheRadar.


Click here to stream or buy
Released: 26 Apr 2019

Written By: Roger Bowie Roger Bowie has been collecting music since 1964, starting with 45 rpm singles, and then building an LP and CD collection from 1970. 1.8 per week since then. Not a vast collection, but eclectic and occasionally obscure. Roger is a big Americana fan, and regularly attends AmericanaFest in Nashville, held every September. Also, he once played golf with Alice Cooper...