Trevor is the alias for Reuben Daube, a folk-rock musician from Wellington, New Zealand. After spending ten years playing bass in such kiwi groups as Tommy and The Fallen Horses, The Shadow Blasters and Johnsonville City Nights, Magpie Bottom is Daube’s first time stepping up out of the shadows and taking the mic. Trevor's first solo album is a personal set of songs which blends folk, country and pop and features guest appearances from Wellington artists such as John Niland, William Jackman and Alexander Stainton.
The album was written during the course of a year in 2016, when Daube spent living his days in the outer suburbs of Bristol, UK. His songwriting was heavily inspired by ramblings in the local nature reserve, Magpie Bottom. He describes the album like this – “an ode to the steam trains of old, the fox, cider and pork scratchings, the magpie, the noble canal boat and the local tavern. Centered around a Kiwi's OE in a South Gloucestershire village, this tale traverses a long-distance relationship, early morning commutes, and the search for an elusive badger. Magpie Bottom is a homage if you will, to the charms and terrors of the great British countryside.” Several other musicians helped Trevor perform his wonderful collection of songs – enjoy!
The album’s title track begins with snapping sounds, mandolin and a full and robust sound – warm and welcoming by every measure. Immediately, I thought Trevor’s arrangements and mix of instruments was magical, somewhere between Gordon Lightfoot’s “Edmund Fitzgerald” and a nostalgic country-folk, soundscape vibe. Oh yeah, this opener is an instrumental – another plus in my book. “Long Way From Home” has a folksy style, rambling along nicely like some Gram Parsons or John Prine tune. “Lonely Fox” is one of the shorter songs and it’s quite graceful and pleasing to the soul. Delivered in a storybook kind of way, it’s hard not to like this number. “Commuter” features a knock out, mysterious style – complete with all the right chilling guitar chords and spacious energy that evokes images of the open road in the early morning hours – where dark regrets meet a few seeds of hope, pining for a better way of living. “The River” feels like the classic, ‘70s folk tune. Think a little Arlo Guthrie and a little John Denver and maybe just a bit of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. “West Country Boogie” indeed has the spirit of boogie-woogie in it, albeit in a very easy going, mellow way. Definitely a great song to slow dance too. This one reminded me of Dave Edmunds’ “I Hear You Knocking” for some reason, but no mention of Fats Domino here.
Next up is “Building Our House” a gently, reflective song about doing just that – building a house. But Trevor’s words get deeper as he sings not about a house made of wood, nails and windows, but more about finishing a dream of becoming a family and having a home. “Elusive Mr. Badger” features the gorgeous stringed instrument known as the 12-string. In my opinion, this song was way too short but I’m glad that he put it on the album. “Magpie Bottom II” is another one of Daube’s story time songs, telling the tale of the magpie and the kind of life it leads through the changing seasons. The song ends just how “Magpie Bottom I” began with a beautiful spacious and graceful sound.
On the one hand, you could say Magpie Bottom is a concept album, without taking it to its extreme definition, but on the other, each song had a charming nature all its own, unique enough for any tune to stand on its own. Overall, the songs are quite short and at times I wanted them to last longer. But whatever Trevor’s reasoning behind his short storytelling songs, I hope to hear more.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook