ELENI DRAKE – Songs On Sundays EP

A collection of songs that melded jazz melodies with swathes of contemporary soul, Eleni Drake’s debut EP ‘Blue’ had a lot of crossover potential and was a release that lent itself well to evening listening. With a lot of the music straddling the kind of sounds you might find during the softer parts of a Solange Knowles record and the laid-back electronica of Zero 7, it seemed so contemporary for the time of release and promised well enough for a potential follow up.

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STEVE HEWITT – Bigger Than Words

Steve Hewitt is a singer-songwriter from Kent whose previous works have gained some very positive reviews from singer-songwriter, folk and Americana fans, with particular praise for carrying such an American sound considering his very English roots.

His first full length album ‘Bigger Than Words’ presents a far more intimate sound than his 2015 EP release ‘Life Stories’. Lots of the poppier elements have been cast aside in a move for the better. With Hewitt baring his soul in a more stripped back fashion, the album largely works around a finely played acoustic six string and a big voice, although a few other embellishments help to give his personal songs a much fuller feel without losing any of the subtleties. …And even a couple of forays into adult pop are far more professional sounding than anything Steve has released previously.

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JOSH RITTER – Fever Breaks

Ten albums into a long career, singer-songwriter Josh Ritter really managed to strike gold when writing ‘Fever Breaks’. As he says himself, the songs were “reflective of the times in which they were written”, and that’s something that very much gives the record a very personal quality. Also, by teaming up with the legendary Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, the album comes with an incredibly earnest musical backdrop that almost feels timeless. It’s a record that feels very much like a musical travelogue, moving through several moods across its ten songs. In a way that instantly grabs the attention, Ritter opens this platter with a couple of genuinely great alt-country rockers, giving both himself and the 400 Unit plenty of opportunity to release some energy.

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ROY SHAKKED – Know Nothing EP

Using the name Holmes, singer/songwriter/producer Roy Shakked released an unmissable covers album – the appropriately titled ‘Covers’ – back in 2011. The following years found him disappearing into a busy schedule of work: a full length album of originals appeared in 2012 and following his relocating to Israel, by 2015, he was became a member of a new band The Bright Wild. Roy’s music continued to be hidden in plain sight over the next couple of years with his compositions appearing on numerous TV shows and adverts in the US and his need to create new sounds eventually yielded a new solo EP in December 2017. Continue reading