Saturday, 6 October 2012

~Thirteen Stars~ Way Dju

As a follow up from our recent review of Cumbrian band Thirteen Stars I have been listening to their back catalogue and the newly released album Way Dju. The unusually sounding titled Way Dju is Cumbrian dialect phrase for 'how are you doing' equally unusual are the multiple directions of the songs such is the band's dislike of conforming to genres I would almost describe it as a compilation album as it crosses so many of the boundaries it would take me too long to analyse each song such is the range of the album so I just want to cherry pick a few songs as an example.
The album kicks off with Jersey Irish Girl built over a traditional sounding Irish Jig riff. Normally you would expect it to be played on a fiddle here it is translated into a guitar riff which Jax's heavily overdriven Gibson SG carries right through as the main theme. This is complimented neatly by the singing of front man Matt 'Hoss' Thompson who has has similar vocal qualities to Van Morrison , happily without "Van the Man's " habit of extending songs by singing scat for the latter half of tunes . As a whole the song reveals the folk roots of the band , is a good opener and the style of music that gets the mosh pit moving is so going to be well suited to live performances . You should listen out for an element of misdirection in the intros of a number of songs where you are lead to believe for example you are listening to a slow moody instrumental blues song which suddenly jumps into a rip roaring rocker. This explains a lot of head scratching and crossing out on my reporters pad just as I have if fixed in my mind bang the whole feel changes.It is very much an approach that causes record companies A&R men to reach for the Prozac a shame for them and a change for us this is a conscious decision to not conform.
Mr Blue has the echoes of seventies style protest , bearing many similarities to 10cc in their heyday, I'm interpreting it as a warning to our political 'masters' as to who pays their wages (that would be us ). It utilises some cleverly crafted lyrics to pass the message that for a change it is we who are watching them and very closely. By contrast Black Bone Jeb is an unashamedly 'Southern Rock' tale of bad lad with an eye for the ladies musically slipping in a little steel guitar sound for hot sauce again its a foot tapper of a song and I confess to singing along to Black Bone Jeb while I am driving probably the less said about that the better . The off the wall electric folk style story of 'Brave Sir Tralin ' which reminds me of prog bands of old. It is a bit marmite not unusual in the genre and the theme gets a little lost midway with the style changes and brief musical asides. It is still an interesting listen if not as polished as some of the other content and if you have that inkling for electric folk it hits the right note. Personally I think I would have preferred it given a lighter touch as an acoustic number though it may say more about my history in packed pubs at folk gigs - please note was never hardcore enough to have a tankard hook on my belt. Right across the album there is plenty of opportunity taken for the band members to shine without going the full blooded solo's route Matty Eden and Andy Bates bouncing the rhythm of many of songs between them showing how well they are in touch as befits their performing history. With Jax Sedgewick and 'Hoss' working their six strings the sound of the band is powerful when driven hard and has a depth I find very pleasing each time I listen I find subtle nuances to the songs I may have missed on previous listening, I am fully aware this can be done by multi tracking but watching live clips of 13 stars it is case of what you see is what you get. So the album is a pretty good indication of what you can expect to see live supply your own beverage of course for the full effect. I have only touched on the content of Way Dju and I'd urge you to check the streamed content(see foot of page). It really is far more diverse than almost any other album I have come across. If you have difficulty obtaining the album (or the two earlier releases) and your local HMV hasn't a copy in stock I'm sure the band will exchange a copy for folding money at the gigs or you can contact them through their Facebook Page
Streamed Samples


  1. A great review of this great album and as said at the end if you can't get hold of a copy then contact the band through their web page or email me direct
    The hope is to have some internet based merch available in the near future so stay in touch via facebook

    and a big thank you to our friends at Classic Rock Radio

    Cheers Y'all - AJ

  2. Many thanks on behalf of 13 Stars to our friends at Classic Rock Radio

    If as stated at the end of the reiew you are looking for a copy of the Album (or indeed the full back catalogue)the by all means contact the band via the facebook page or you can email me (AJ) direct at
    Cheers Y'all