Pencarrow is the third album released by musician Rob Joass, who calls the Kapiti Coast home, or Turangawaiwai, if you will.
With more than 25 years as a musician under his belt he's no stranger to writing, playing and recording music to a high standard.
Pencarrow continues this tradition for him. On first, second and third listens it is easy to call him a songwriter's songwriter, much like some of the other songwriters he looks up to including Australian songwriting legend Paul Kelly, but more about him later.
The song, The Sweet Unknown, features the phrase: "Let's hear it for the angels watching over us", which is repeated like a chant of a mantra, and has a hypnotic quality. Sometimes a songwriter's greatest gift is to know which words to repeat, and it works really well in the above example.
Overall it sounds like this album was recorded in a high quality home studio, and it has a very live feel. It is pretty much Joass and his guitar, with a few over dubs providing melodies which weave around the central tune of each piece.
Train, Train is one of the more up-tempo songs on the album, and even though it's like many others and only really guitar and vocal, the song chugs along with a rhythm not dissimilar from a train.
One song which stands out is his version of the Paul Kelly penned When I First Met Your Ma. It's a faithful version which retains the charm and beauty of the original yet Joass has definitely made the song his own.
The mix and mastering of Pencarrow is beautifully done, understated and allows the songs to breathe.
Rob Joass is taking Pencarrow on tour around Aotearoa from March to May, and it would be well worth a listen live.
Darryl Baser, https://www.muzic.net.nz - Mar 2019
Black and White by Rob Joass is a pleasant album that harkens back to the roots of folk music. With a stripped down, minimal feel, you really can't help but detect a timeless flavour in the offering.
Arriving 18 years after Rob's
debut CD, he seems experienced and it shows. There's a hint of
smooth swagger in his voice as he croons over warm guitar strums.
It makes for a pleasant sound.
Rob changes it up in certain songs with organ solos and beaming harmonicas, and this is where the music shines. 'The Winter Bells' is a great example of this, solid songwriting mixed with excellent instrumental sections work to show what he is capable of. Rob's novelistic approach to writing the lyrics pays off, each song feeling like its own self contained world.
'Waiting For The Long Train To Pass' is an excellently named little instrumental track, perfectly placed to help the listener collect their thoughts before the album wraps up, and before the cheeky Kiwi accent pokes through in 'A Glass Of Cheer'.
Black and White is a solid addition to the folk ranks. The stripped down style provides a raw and personal experience, while maintaining a mature, grounded tone that makes it all feel very honest. It's definitely worth checking out. Let's hope the next album is a bit closer on the horizon.
Corban Koschak, http://www.secondhandnews.nz/reviews - Mar 2015
Accomplished singer-songwriter Joass from Wellington (of Hobnail and The Shot Band) offers this second solo album which include a re-hit at his excellent 2006 Dead in the Water (which was nominated as country song of the year) and a powerfully beautiful new song The Winter Bells with Wayne Mason on Hammond. And the spare Jimmy Ray is an emotionally engaging story from a Death Row prison cell. Nine well focused songs and a lived-in voice.
Graham Reid, http://www.elsewhere.co.nz/ - Oct 2014