Bluesdoodles Album Picks Second Quarter 2017 the recorded music keeps arriving such diversity and quality the excitement of sound captured to be relived again & again. It is proving to be a bumper year for music from Blues to Americana – Rock to Prog Rock many intriguing albums and musicians skills that cross the genres merging styles, melding influences into a diversity of sonic delights that intrigues and keeps your entertained. 2017 is going to have a overflowing memory box of special music as the cascade of albums arriving through the letterbox both the electronic format and the traditional front door.
Over the last thirteen weeks, I have listened to many and thirty-four reviewed by Bluesdoodles keyboard warrior, Liz Aiken loves the listening, enjoys the typing. The hard part is deciding the number of doodle paws for the superb musicianship and variety of styles we listen to. At the end of the second quarter of 2017 from the 1st of April through to 30th June 2017: TEN albums shone bright, thus ten doodle paws stamped on the cover.
Ever wonder about the doodle paws category?
All numbers given to artistry are subjective, mine are no different; they are indicative in relationship of previous music released by the musicians; also how the music compares to the current releases. We rarely give below five as so many excellent albums below satisfactory rarely see the light of scrutiny.
10 Doodle Paws Stupendous
9 Doodle Paws Exceptional
8 Doodle Paws Marvellous
7 Doodle Paws Splendid
6 Doodle Paws Pleasing
5 Doodle Paws Satisfactory
Clicking the album cover takes you to the review:-
Check out the other albums reviewed they are an exciting mix of music many not to be missed and will become firm favourites.
The title is apt, the album has a sense of purpose, is never over-produced it has been left Rough Round the Edges. JFK Blue are a five piece united by a love of playing music and the blues is the rocket fuel that lights the spark. The band JFK Blue are new to me when the invitation to review Rough Round the Edges dropped in to my inbox. They comprise vocalist and guitarist Chris Elliot, Iago Banet on lead guitar, Keys from Dave Lennox adding another layer of vocals and the Rhythm section bassist Leslie Fleischman and on drums Sol Ezra plus percussion and vocals. The band may have Blues in the name but are never restrained to sit in any particular genre they want you to enjoy the self-penned numbers reflecting their many influences.
A debut album, exploring styles with a variety of approaches that rocks up that rootsy feel of the blues. ; stretching the definition and adding a spark of electric feel. The album in under five days, with a tight budget capturing the feel and attitude of the sixties using vintage gear in an analogue studio.
The eleven tracks are all a bit different as we open up to a heartfelt St. Joseph; certainly makes the listener want to hear more, the guitar is tasty with a rocked back beat and the drums give the percussive push. You may say you are Rough Round The Edges; this assures first time listener that we are in safe hands, musicians that can play with stripped back production and listenability. The sound is contemporary throughout the eleven tracks as they take us down a beat and we enter the Shadowlands. The album has a live, one take feel, the chorus is catchy a warm melodic beat; look out for Iago’s solo the catch pulling the track together so never hidden in the shadows of the album. So are they going to rock up the tempo on Can’t Tell the Truth? Now they take it down, to a laid back mooch full of tonal contrasts and sharp harp playing.
Half way through and contracting sounds engages the listener with Reggae infused Shed A Little Light, bring a kiss of summer, hot pavements and chilling out. Smart marching beat of drums opens up Nola (Gimme The Funk); full of pure driven funkiness. This is a band that likes to swing in the changes swim against a tide that says you should have a uniform signature style.
As we draw to the end of the album the penultimate track Don’t Cry For Me; I can assure you no one will be crying in pain listening to JFK Blue. This has a free-flowing jamming with control a band that is relaxed having fun but never losing its shape and sense of purpose. Closing with Having A Real Good Time, the band wants to make sure you have with eleven tracks that suit everyone’s taste with different styles and approaches.
For, me at times the vocals lose shape and could have had more depth of tone and range and despite listening to eleven JFK Blue originals they are still to me an unknown. I just couldn’t quite grasp what direction they wanted to go in. This is gentle rock that doesn’t disappoint but never quite lights a blue flashing flame. JFK Blue, debut Album Rough Round The Edges is smooth perhaps at times too contained trying too hard to please. Yes, mix it up but have a narrative not an experimentation with lots of different styles. Stamp your JFK Blue brand on the music so it will be instantly recognised. That said a good solid debut, and I certainly want to hear them play live and get to know JFK a little bit better.
For the first time Justin Townes Earle has worked with an outside producer and he chose Mike Moogis, for Kids In The Street as he releases the album on his New West Records and the first not recorded in Nashville, a trio of debuts that definitely gives the album curbside appeal.
Following his previous critically acclaimed albums Single Mothers followed by Absent Fathers; this album, Kids In The Street completes the trio has an upbeat, optimistic feel that makes you want to play hopscotch on the street as you did as a child; kick off your shoes and run through the grass and make daisy chains. The originals have a fresh simplicity, an enchanting fluidity as the meaningful lyrics entwine themselves around the melodic guitar chords.
The album kicks off in high rolling fast-moving rock n roll beat as we toast Champagne Corolla. With this upbeat number we hear the refrain Pretty little thing riding by in a champagne Corolla; an ode to car life and far much more as you explore his clever lyrics. Achieving the goal from the off-classic rhythms with a modern lyric. We have the country twang of steel guitar and piano and a clicking rhythm building up to a swirl of sadness and Justin sings What’s She Crying For leads in to a 15-25 looking back with the feel of New Orleans the keys have a Professor Longhair feel as his vocals drawl and have a lopping lazy feel as the tempo picks up. Leading into the title track, taking us back with the simple guitar intro the vocals “ My best friend lived in this house we played ball after school…” looking back to simpler times of 1990’s; full of nostalgia but not rose-tinted glasses just memories that have smoothed out the rough edges. Is this a track that pops out at you? Bringing the album together, not really just misses as so much of the album on first listen it is good, but delving deeper it never raises the game to excellent.
The reflective, retro hazy feel is the tonal phrasing for much of the album; the tone is brought up with a jolt with Justin’s version of Stagolee, the guitar is harsher, his voice deeper and seems not to fit a pebble sending ripples across Kids In The Street. The re-working is subtle a more drastic re-arrangement may have slotted in but this feels like the unwanted guest at a party. Same Old Stagolee certainly has not received the gentrification that the streets of Nashville referred to in many of the tracks on Kids In The Street.
Closing the album with There Goes A Fool, deep, darker and full of introspective and skillful songwriting, before hitting the bonus track Paul Simon’s Graceland. This acoustic version closes out an album that just doesn’t quite reach the potential that sets it apart from other Americana albums,
The album is reflective and moves on from his last album Single Mothers and Absent Fathers delivering his own innovative Americana feel, where Justin leads others have followed. The music is to Muscle Shoals to be Country – too retro to be cutting edge. Who cares? Kids In The Streets with its layers of music with old style guitar and lyrics that have something to say it is a good listen and has a purpose in its commentary. What more do you want from an album. For Bluesdoodles Kids In The Street is a welcomed addition and will be played for the sheer enjoyment of listening to Justin Townes Earle.
Nikka & Strings Soulful New Album Underneath and In Between
Nikka Costa delivers an album full of soul, funky attitudes and emotional blues on Underneath and In Between. Her fist single released in March Nothing Compares 2 You opens the album and introduces you to the luscious strings. The gentle re-working of the Prince number written for Sinead O’Connor retains the hurt as the singer confesses Nothing Compares 2 U. Later in the album Silver Tongue co-written with Prince who released his version as the B side for his single Call Your Name and never performed live by Prince now is given the Nikka & Strings treatment. Silver Tongue so elegant with Nikka’s vocals darker and smooth again the arrangement its simplicity with the power left to the vocals and sophisticated musicianship.
The piano and strings open the Ray Charles Classic then Nika’s honeyed vocals sing Love To Love You Less. The strings are sharp and the horn acts as perfect punctuation on one of Nikka’s self-confessed favourites previously recorded on her album Pebbles To A Pearl. It is not surprising that in the mix is Frank Sinatra’s Come Rain Or Shine, originally arranged by her father Don Costa. The emotional bond with her father can be heard as the arrangement is for a string quartet rather than a 50 piece orchestra. The sound is still full with the strings pulling the lyrics with a determined and sassy approach. The tones of Nikka’s voice change as it deepens, darkens or lightens depending on the lyrics as she emotionally engages with a maturity to the chosen numbers. Her voice gently growls as the lyrics explore the pain of loss. With the modest orchestration the number has an intimacy a feeling that this is being sung directly to and for you as a salve to your own loss and pain. Headfirst takes us to a sharper place, the sound is electronic, contemporary from the ProWhoa EP; it has a ghostly feel as the change in direction making you sit up and listen displaying the depth and breadth of Nikka’s vocal skill and range full of originality.
Closing the album out with two powerful classics from The American songbook of popular songs, Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying and Stormy Weather. Ass her soulful voice pulls in her blues heart the song is a comfort blanket empowering and this classic gets the Nikka treatment with style. Closing the album with Stormy Monday, forever associated with Judy Garland here Nikka sings with a quiet vulnerability as her tongue caresses the lyrics. The strings add to the feel leaving you with the pleasure that Nikka has created from the first to the last note on Underneath and In Between.
The album sings to you there is a freshness in every arrangement, reflecting the talent of every musician and the confidence of Nikka as she achieved her goal of recording her album in a single day; and produced by Justin Stanley (Eric Clapton, Prince) and Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie) at Henson Studios, with Nikka & the Strings mixed at Clearmountain. Underneath and In Between flows with intensity with strings that fill out the sound and every track is scrumptious delight for the ears. The clarity of every note and word adds to the tonal template with the sounds cascading like a sparkling waterfall from the speaker.
Nikka Costa sings beautifully making everything number a sonic work of art on Underneath and In Between is full of classics delivered with spirited originality.
TENdoodle paws out of TEN ….
Nothing Compares 2 U
Ain’t That Peculiar
Love To Love You Less
Come Rain Or Come Shine
Cry To Me
Arms Around You
Lover You Should Come Over
Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Nikka & Strings Soulful New Album Underneath and In Between
Who, What and Where the album details
Produced by Justin Stanley & Bob Clearmountain
Engineered & Mixed by: Bob Clearmountain
String arrangements by Jeff Babko
Engineering: Justin Stanley
Assistant Engineer: Sergio Ruelas Jr.
2nd Assistant: Kyle Stevens
Recorded at Henson Studios
Additional recording at the Apogee Studio & Clear Lake Studios
Mixed at Mix This!
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering
Management by Andre Recke
String Arrangements & Piano by Jeff Babko except “Come Rain Come Shine” arranged by Don Costa, rearranged by Jeff Babko
Shawn Davis- Bass except tracks 4 &11
Sean Hurley- Acoustic Bass on tracks 4 & 11
Aaron Redfield – Drums
Songa Lee – First Violin
Marisa Kuney – Second Violin
Caroline Buckman – Viola except tracks 5, 8 & 10
Tim Loo – Cello
Tom Lea- Viola on tracks 5, 7, 8 & 10
Elizabeth Lea on tracks 3 & 11
Kevin Ball – Triangle Thanks to all our friends who came in and sang their hearts out:
Jamie Lidell – track 5
Shonka Dukureh – track 5
Gerald Jenkins – track 5
Holly Palmer – track 1
Lucy Woodward – track 1
Jenny Karr – track 1
Danielle Vaughn- track 1
Arnold Mcculler – tracks 1, 5 & 8
Fred White – tracks 1, 5 & 8
Lamont Van Hook – tracks 1, 5 & 8
When Nathan James stormed onto the stage at Planet Rockstock 2015 with Inglorious eighteen months ago the potential for something huge, replicating the rock bands of the past was written in the stars, as reflected in the crystal ball on the cover of their first self-titled album. From that point they have grown into the band they promised to be. The second album is always difficult. Not for Inglorious they didn’t waste time and effort on a title – it is simply Inglorious II. That is the only simply thing.
With a dozen original numbers written by the whole band the feeling of musicians working together creating an organic living musical identity from first to the last chords is evident. This is all underpinned by this studio album having the fluidity, driving energy of a live sound. Being on the road, receiving audience reactions have shaped and formed the sound as they recorded as they play live, with raw energy and the building of tones from the instruments and not trickery. With the mixing done by Kevin Shirley the album has a the stamp of Classic Rock, not trapped in the past but as a sounding board for music you want to rock to.
The band wrote the whole album with no guest writers this time, they said “It came together very organically after spending time touring together and felt great. We knew we were making an album this time too! We focused on getting our sounds just right so we could get into the studio and out in the least time poss.”
The opening chords are full of controlled restraint, the feel of acoustic, building the suspense we have all been feeling since announcement date 12th May for the release of the album on Frontiers Records. The crash of cymbals the melodic howl of Nathan as we are off on an Inglorious rush of melodic rock, play it often and play it loud Nathan may sing I Don’t Need Your Loving! BUT! We need your heady rock fueled energy it is fresh, modern, created for the twenty-first century with a quality that is firmly stepping back in time.
Third track in and you know that this is an album that will perform superbly live, and in the meantime will stay on repeat. Tell Me Why; demonstrates that Nathan has the freedom to perform those toe curling with delight vocals because of the band. The four musicians throughout provide more than a solid platform they give the sound shape and form for the lyrics and vocals to curl round, whether in anger, love or for the pure joy of singing. The drumming from Phil Beaver is rhythmically strong as we Read All About It and Andreas’ guitar work has a sting in its tail. As the groove changes with Change Is Coming and its deep bass line from Colin Patterson. Inglorious are a band connected through the music they love to play.
The blistering guitar opening of No Good For You, they may sing and play like that every day for me and will definitely be good for lovers of rock. As the album reaches its finale, we have time to draw our breath, reset our energy levels with Faraway, simple, quieter, a controlled vocal delivery from Nathan full of delicate intricacies. Faraway is a beguiling track. Then the grand closing number with High Class Woman. High class certainly describes the album.
Do not expect surprises, this is a rock album and they deliver. As ever Inglorious are being compared and contrasted to bands and singers of the past. For me that is a useful starting point, the reality is Nathan James and Inglorious on the second recorded offering are proving they are not pale imitations. The sound is Inglorious’ own, the sound is glorious.
Before, making albums Nathan thought to himself, “Why are those classic albums so awesome?” He realised it was because “the musicians were recording in an organic way; they could track it live and capture amazing energy.” He certainly has lived up to his observations on the whirlwind raw and tamed Inglorious II. Joining the charismatic front man and vocalist Nathan James are lead guitarist Andreas Eriksson, bassist Colin Parkinson, rhythm guitarist Wil Taylor, and drummer Phil Beaver. With the departure of Wil from the band it is welcoming back former guitarist Drew Lowe.
Inglorious II is a mighty fine rock album with all the necessary components, but definitely not playing rock by numbers. This is modern rock with attitude, raw and at times a little bit dangerous. They want to thrill you through music and inglorious ii definitely thrills.
The album will be released as a standard CD and also as a Deluxe CD/DVD edition. The DVD will feature a previously unavailable live performance from Download Festival 2016 plus extra bonus content, including videos for forthcoming singles “I Don’t Need Your Loving” and “Taking The Blame”.
A vinyl release will also be made available through Frontiers Music Srl partners Soulfood. Inglorious II features
Nathan James – vocals
Andreas Eriksson – lead guitars
Wil Taylor – guitars
Colin Parkinson – bass guitar
Phil Beaver – drums
2017 Dates announced so far are:
19th May 2017- UK, London, Islington Assembly
16th June 2017 – FRANCE, Clisson, Hellfest Festival
18th June 2017 – BELGIUM, Dessel, Graspop Festival
22nd June 2017 – DENMARK, Copenhagen Festival
24th June 2017 – SPAIN, Vitoria, Azkena Rock Festival 2017
19th August 2017 – UK, Tilford, Weyfest Festival
Little Hurricane Playing Under the Same Sun Same Moon
Out of California, the Duo Little Hurricane, are wielding forceful roots fueled storm on their third studio album and first on Mascot Label Group. The twelve tracks weave through tones and textures as we explore the sounds they create under the Same Sun Same Moon. The whole album is impactive strong driving percussive tones and vocals that embrace the lyrics with passion, yearning and sensitivity.
Little Hurricane are a husband and wife duo, have an innate understanding as they deliver ten tracks of rock, that is edgy, alternative and root deep in the foundations of popular music. Anthony ‘Tone’ Catalano is the front-man adding guitar tones and vocals that can growl and then flip into seductive mode; with Celeste C.C, Spina on drums and backing vocals. They are a team that creates a textural and beguiling landscape on every number from the title song Same Sun, Same Moon that opens the album through to the closing number Moon’s Gone Cold.
Bad Business may be the title of the second track, there is nothing bad about Little Hurricane’s business of producing an alternative sound. Bad Business has a grungy edge, with whispers of dirty blues. The mood changes with OTL with an anthem feel that has an accessible sound despite having no guitar! This should be getting radio play across the stations it is so atmospheric, an ear-worm of a number. The blues foundations of the duo are heard on tracks across the album, this is a roots alternative who owes its form to blues but certainly not dictated by traditional boundaries.
As we walk to Mt. Senorita with Little Hurricane the album takes a hill country feel and the interest is maintained in a narrative driven number delivered by Tone; the drumming once again forming an atmospheric backdrop of percussive energy. With only three tracks left, another branch of roots is captured with shadows of reggae beat underneath the almost pop delivery of the vocals, this is a catch party good time tune as they sing You Remind Me. With the vocals harmonizing we have a gentle melody and words about being mean and hurtful; with gentle guitar licks combining with drums with a sharpened edge.
The album has a happy feel and the music is very good, what you want to listen to with its compelling melodic drive and lyrics that have a sense of purpose without a message. A winning combo from Little Hurricane. No need to catergorise good music, just sit back, listen and let the waves of notes cascade over you and relax. Little Hurricane Playing Under the Same Sun Same Moon Same Moon cuts across genres with the music rooted in the past delivered in the now.
Little Hurricane – Same Sun Same Moon – Mascot Label group / Provogue
Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album
Steve Hackett Exploring The Night Siren on his latest Album, his twenty-fifth as a solo artist a silver landmark of a distinguished career. Sit back, and be taken on an extravaganza of musical experiences. The Night Siren has its own tuneful call, melding together modern rock instruments with sounds from the dawn of time as Persian Oud meets Andean Quena via the strings of the viola and bass clarinet. Incorporating tradition with contemporary sounds works as The Night Siren weaves musical tonal textures under the guidance and artistry of Steve Hackett. With the complexities of string, woodwind and percussive instrumentation building a landscape where there is no simple journey of going in a straight line to your destination. The music flows, creating eddies, swells and detours, taking your ear to places that are delightful as Progressive Rock fills the room with layers of interest. Never self-indulgent always with a purpose exploring peace, how light will stop the plunge into darkness and self-destruction.
Hackett has gathered around him a group of artists who develop the scope of the instrument that shapes the music without constraints. The album has a global vision, reflected as we travel from the cold to heat. Steve Hackett travelled around the planet working with Icelandic drummer Gunnlaugur Briem, Azerbaijan tar player Malik Mansurov, Israeli vocalist Kobi Farhi and Arabic singer Mira Awad, who represented Israel in the, Eurovision song contest.
Opening the epic musical journey we join the legendary prog-rock guitarist and vocalist as the veil is lifted and we see Behind The Smoke. Behind the smoke on this socio-political song exploring displaced refugees and leader’s own self-interest of protecting borders. This is an album of music without borders, inventive and without self-constraint. This is music that is both considered, intriguing and above all else exciting. My first experience of the stringed Persian instrument Tar; the mystical sound pulls in the guitar and the sultry Eastern vocals from Amanda. The instrumental breaks have a sense of purpose and inherent rhythm that says more than the words. The didgeridoo under Sara’s guidance is joined by her father, Ferenec Kovacs trumpet as we travel to Fifty Miles from the North Pole. The opening is quiet, the sound is cool creating a soundscape of a journey across a landscape cold, ‘’it can freeze your soul”
The dramatic opening of El Niño with drums and strings describes the power of this force of nature as the orchestra of sounds creates the soundscapes of nature’s fury. All the tracks are mesmerising, as we step to the Other Side of the Wall we enter a dream zone shaping a different hegemony one of peace, solution and tranquility refuting the way the world seems to be a head full of xenophobia, hatred and intolerance. The music is cathartic a window of hope and renewal.
Rock, rises above on Inca Terra and In Another Life. Civilizations from the past connect the two melodies and cascade through the middle of the album, revitalizing and shining light on mysteries. Instruments from previous times help in the linking of the world of the past and now as quena and Uilleann pipes are used to great effect in shaping the melodic mood.
As the album draws to its worldly conclusion West To East fate is explored as we are lead to ask why the birds have left the sky. It is a message that we need to look into the East not expect the traffic of understanding has to flow East to West. We need to find what we have in common and then Peace can be found. There is hope and this is the track that lightens the night siren with a message of renewal. Closing with The Gift the shortest track, we are under the spell of Steve Hackett’s guitar playing and the lusciousness of the strings picking up the melody. The instrumental pulls the themes together once more re-affirming the talent of Steve Hackett.
The Night Siren, is more than a collection of eleven tracks. The Night Siren a celebration of the depth of cultures throughout the world. The wealth of music, the wealth of tones, the wealth of what is good in humanity. The Night Siren is a call to action for a different world. Open, giving and tolerant. The Night Siren is composition that will on every listen enthrall and entrance. Prog-rock does not get better than this. Albums do not get better than this. The Night Siren is masterful and the best yet from the talented musical mind of Steve Hackett.
Second albums are always a difficult journey to take. Following on From Quick & Dirty; Blues Engine are on the right Blues Tracks with number two. Tracks definitely consolidates this London-based band Blues credential
Opening with a measured soulfully melodic Drop Dead Ugly, the reverse of what the title may have suggested, definitely gentle rather than dirty blues. As you step on board the eleven musical detours the Blues Engine are taking us on Tracks. The vocals of Katya Chernyakova are full of luscious textures that are reflected back by the considered guitar work of Alex Cooray. The juxta positioning of crisp and soft, sweet and sour are a signature of Blues Engine giving the blues a contemporary edge whilst still full of tradition. The ten originals and a single cover keeps you entertained and engaged as the Tracks widen out with Gunnysack John, harder edge faster tempo and juicy harp from guest Nick Payne. It is the rhythm section that keeps this ditty on the right track curling towards its destination with beat that is sustained and clear the combination of new drummer Hamish Burchell & bassist Alexander K Liutai. The tracks meander with a gentle flow of the blues picking up a Latino vibe on Lonely By Your Side full of warmth, the quartet are having fun exploring the tempos that mix up the blues. Opening with deep rumbling bass Boatman’s Blues takes us down the river with Alex on guitar raising the tone and Katya hitting the mid-range this is a sad song full of blues wistfulness.
Closing out with their version of Jimmy Cox’s Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out; leaving you with blues chiming as the sound fades. Having reached the end one track resonates as the star it is a Peter Green infused, British Blues number Tell Me A Riddle. Slow, thoughtful, melodies that suit the tonal range of Blues Engine.
What stops this album being outstanding is difficult to pinpoint. Every track is true to the sound Blues Engine creates. It is an album you would return to and smile and joy the sharp blues of Tracks that glint like well-cut Sapphire, reflecting out and beyond the scope of electric blues. Missing, it is a cutting edge, the dirty tones of blues and stories that really shout for attention. That said Tracks certainly never goes off the rails under the hands of Blues Engine.
Mick McConnell sophomore album Gets Under My Skin, certainly punches a hefty blues punch. The album out of Dewsbury journeyed through Europe and was polished in Nashville. With Bruce Miller at the helm as producer Under My Skin has ten tracks that combine a winning combo gravel vocals and stinging guitars this is a smokin’ gun of the blues from Mick McConnell.
Mick, says “stick to what I know”; that said there is a flourish and a confidence as the ten tracks take us on a journey that never stays within the constraints of traditional blues. He sets down a deep groove with his six-string and then explores the lyrics adding gloss, brightness and energy as he sings No She Don’t Like Country; we get to know her tastes and she likes Rock n’ Roll!
The guitar is a blues clarion call as Mick takes us Visiting Mr ‘J’; his song that reflects on the legacy of Mr Robert Johnson, he sticks to his approach to the blues not copying or reinterpreting Robert. The middle of the album is rich pickings with Moods On A Rainy Day and Cross The Line. The album is full of peachy songs that grow and underneath the guitar and instrumentation are lyrics with something to say. Mick is his own person, this is his blues that he wants to share with you as he closes out the album with Spell On Me. This is Blues that shimmers piercing through the genre with a vibe that is warm and inviting. As the album title infers Mick does get Under My Skin and anyone who listens to McConnell Blues.
The clocks change in March, but Midnight is still the witching, hour, mysterious dark or starlight with a hint of romance and forthcoming days. Lewis Watson is back with a powerful new album Midnight, following on from his acclaimed debut The Morning. Midnight cements him firmly as a talented pop orientated singer/songwriter with hints of melancholy and shafts of joy running through the album.
Midnight has a fresh feel, nothing is over produced and there is a lightness of touch reflecting that the Oxford based musician recorded the entire album in a fortnight with a live band, under the watchful guidance of producer Anthony West.
The influences are present but with the lightest of touches as the voice of Lewis Watson is the dominant force combined with his acoustic power. Opening with reverb underneath the vocals adding to a mixed reaction that of uncertainty and the power of the music it has a force that makes a pop song stand out as it fizzes with energy. The dominance of the simplicity of the form of singer/songwriter with the acoustic guitar is apparent in When The Water Meets The Mountain, the sound fills out with melodic and harmonising backing vocals. The number has a sense of purpose within its elegant searing musical beauty.
The short and catchy Forever is a catchy number leading into Run with its ear catching opening of movements in a room a record player and clicking clock, with a harder edge of grand piano and strumming guitar picking up the melody. Then Lewis’ vocals picking up the lyrics sad and questioning as the nights are getting longer. Counting in for Slumber featuring Lucy Rose, the acoustic guitar is strummed and the two voices harmonise with a simplicity as a lullaby sinks you into sleep. The closing track is the title song, Midnight again the simplicity of a piano as the intro adds rather diminishes the power as we visualize the cold and Northern Lights and a feeling of contentment.
This is a pop album with the added elements of songs with depth of feeling and interesting layering of tones and effects so that the listeners ears remain focused on the music at Midnight. Lewis Watson, is beguiling and a songster who uses the idiom of pop to deliver his songs. Lewis Watson new album Midnight Simply Pops!