“It is with great pleasure that we formally congratulate you on winning The Akademia Music Award for Best Americana Album for ‘Low Country’ in the May 2017 Akademia Music Awards! This is an important achievement and you should be very proud of your accomplishments! We are pleased to present you with your permanent award certificate:
Out of the ashes of another fine British rock band, Zero Navigator, comes The Whiskey Poets, who started out as a small, country/blues outfit but have become much more than that with their unpretentious yet cool as hell debut ‘Low Country’. Now, there is a lot to like about this album; for one, the man behind it all, the shadowy, bestselling thriller writer RJ Ellory, has thrown all his influences into the pot, making this a stroll through a great expanse of musical countryside, yet he never strays from the path of dark blues-based rock. True, most of the songs could’ve come out of the southern states of the US, but this is no retread over old ground. With ELO’s Martin Smith on board, there are a lot of rich instrumental touches that bring out a strong, whiskey-soaked vibe, as if you could be listening to these guys break their hearts on a Louisiana stage.
Ellory is the star of the show, with his soft and sincere croon, and with him being a writer and all, it’s no surprise to find that the lyrics are well-crafted vignettes to loneliness, family, and hope. The highlights are found in refined numbers such as ‘Ghost Of My Religion’, ‘The Lesson’, and ‘Losing My Heart’, a song that could’ve had chart potential in a different time. But this album was meant to be enjoyed as a whole (Ellory’s work has that charm), so kick back, spin the album, and then get down to one of their live shows. You’ll be seeing more of them on the blues rock circuit, trust me.
BRUCE TURNBULL – Power Play magazine
Fronted by crime novelist RJ Ellory, who also writes all the lyrics, co-writes all the tunes and co-produced the album, The Whiskey Poets live up to their name. As befits a man with thirteen published novels and sales in the millions, Ellory can turn a phrase and his words are foreground, which means that you can actually hear them, something too many bands forget. They’re worth hearing too: thoughts on love and loss, as with so many others, but somehow fresh and relevant. The Poets are a fine band that can rock or step back as required and are clearly well-versed in Americana tropes. And, of course, the man can write. An impressive parallel career clearly beckons.
Jeremy Searle – R2
Award-winning author of numerous crime novels, RJ Ellory has branched into the music world, penning eleven numbers…the result of which is a professional-sounding effort that sits firmly within the realms of Americana. Ellory’s vocals are crystal clear, and at times it seems he was trying to emulate the writings of the likes of Richard Thompson. Obviously possessing more than adequate poetic skills, Ellory had no difficulty cobbling together a set of nicely-crafted lyrics. The album is listenable and veers from gentle ballads to high octane, throbbing Americana.
John Roffey – Maverick Magazine
It is rare that anyone manages a mid-life career move successfully but here we have one example of such a success story. Roger Jon Ellory is a multi-million selling author and – as we find out here – a talented musician. The songs are all from the more gritty side of Americana but delivered with a fine tune and great musicianship. One of the best songs on show – delivered with a driving beat – is ‘Ghost of my Religion’, although there really are no poor tracks here at all in what is a really well-rounded piece of work.
RJ [Ellory] successfully transposes his inherent writing ability to music and as a result ‘Low Country’ is a beguiling, subtly-crafted album. A combination of RJ’s memories and imagination fill the eleven-track album with his poetic cadence. Together with multi-instrumentalist Martin Smith and platinum-selling percussionist Hossam Ramzy, RJ and his Americana-influenced outfit emphasize lyrics and melodies framed by solid arrangements.
Pete Feenstra – getreadytorockme.uk