One of the greatest undiscovered British bands of the past thirty years are surely Liverpool group The Onset. They released a pioneering country-roots album in 'The Pool of Life' (1988) on Geoff Davies' legendary Probe Plus label years before 'Americana' was a recognised genre, while their posthumous second collection 'The Onset' was made up of later sessions which proved they'd forged a tough, Britpop-related sound of their own a good 18 months before Oasis smashed their way into the public's consciousness.
Led by charismatic singer/songwriter and ex-La's founder Mike Badger, The Onset had serious musical strength in depth. Future Lightning Seed Paul Hemmings featured for several years while in Danny Dean, they had a classic lead guitarist capable of adding his sonic stamp to a variety of genres.
Hailing from Bath, bassist SI COUSINS was the one non-Merseyside native in the band. His CV also includes a stint with The Catfish and a pre-Onset spell with anarchic Wiltshire outfit Ophiuchus, but his wonderfully melodic playing fitted in with The Onset like an envelope around a cheque.
Consequently, I was aware of Cousins' abilities as a consummate musician, but I didn't know he had been working on new songs of his own. A quick visit to his MySpace, however, shows just how many little acoustic jewels he's been polishing up of late.
Of these, 'Love's Counterfeit' and 'Broken Dreams' should be your first ports of call. Both are presented in downhome and unhurried folk-pop style, showcasing a fluid finger-picking style and a gentle, unobtrusive voice which nonetheless carries a determined presence.
These are early days for Si Cousins. He may have plans for developing these songs (and he's plenty more besides) but for now I would suggest you check out what he's doing here and ideally get yourself down to one of his low-key live shows. There's a mission to both soothe your soul and quietly sweep you off your feet going ahead here, so you'd be foolish not to succumb.
Si Cousins on MySpace