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Music Review - 'The Sidemen` by Nick Justice and Peter Martin Homer (jh)

Nick Justice and Peter Martin Homer -The Sidemen (click on image to watch video)

7 July 2022 


You’ve seen reviews of a couple of Nick Justice solo albums on these pages but now Justice is collaborating with blues guitarist and fellow singer-songwriter Peter Martin Homer to form The Sidemen. This is their eponymous debut – drawn together as Justice says, by their shared love of folk music. They operate mostly as individual writers but increasingly in the vein of Lennon-McCartney with Justice writing the lyrics and Homer penning the music although each takes credit – Homer for four songs and Justice for six and just two co-writes. This is an informal session, basically recorded live with assistance from ace fiddler Gabe Witcher, long-time Justice producer Richard Bredice on organ for one track, and upright bassist Alan  Deremo.  Justice plays guitars, mandolin and harmonica.  Homer plays the lead guitar parts and banjo. Both deliver lead and background vocals. 

Witcher’s fiddle introduces the opening “Come Dance With Me,” with Justice quickly joining on mandolin before Justice and Homer deliver the singalong, feel-good lyrics, perfectly suited to an informal back porch gathering. Homer’s “This Storm Shall Pass Away” presents his deep voice to the steady guitar strums to the lyrics of a conversation with an older man.  With these two openers, we have already settled in comfortably to these two storytellers. Homer gently plucks the banjo to Justice’s “Meet the Train” while “Lady of the Roses” is a true duet, the first song they wrote together, adding a western touch at the end. The song was written in Tucson and Justice relates that he had an idea of a mysterious lady who died but whose spirt lived in the forest and would appear every so often surrounded by blooming roses. – “She floats in the night like a spirit in a dream.” The other co-write, one that came together quickly is “Light as an Angel,” about those in your life that don’t have a care nor take responsibility. Some of the thoughts here are wrapped in the kind of guilt we associate with childhood - Do we need to forgive ourselves and others and do repentance in order to get into heaven.

Homer’s “Arise” has some sparkling acoustic guitar playing, the addition of Bredice’s organ, and some of best harmonies, faintly echoing British Isles kind of folk. Justice’s “Let’s Get Out of Here” rolls along smoothly, with Witcher’s fiddle perfectly complementing the acoustic picking of the duo, before delivering his own fine solo. Homer’s “Early Sunday” has more strong harmonies, along with mandolin while Justice’s “Secret Soul” keeps the vibe intact, as the two singers alternate selections and Witcher provides the melodic fills. The closer, “Virginia,” penned by Homer, moves toward the mournful side but stays in synch with casual, unhurried nature of the project, another providing strong picking and affecting harmonies.

This is real folk music, the kind that’s rarely heard any more. 

Jim Hynes



Jim Hynes is an independent contributor on music for several magazines, including Elmore and Country Standard Time. He has also written for Variety. He was a listener-supported public station(s) radio host for 25 years in CT, MI, NJ and PA. He is also a Live music host/Emcee at several national and regional venues.

To Read All of Jim's Reviews, Click Here


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