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2019 Singer/Songwriter LPs


About the single ‘Los Angeles’

Hannah’s (Luke’s wife) wanted to move to LA for years but I’m not much of an adventurer, I’m a worrier and a pessimist. But I do need something new. And writing the song crystallized my enthusiasm for moving here. It’s probably the most honest and open song on the album.” - Luke Sital-Singh


Luke Sital-Singh A GOLDEN STATE. Raygun

The opening notes of this album are as beautiful as you’ll hear all year. ‘Lover’ is superbly produced by Tommy McLaughlin (Villagers, Soak) so that Luke’s voice is crystal clear and is heard to convey his lyrics sincerely and honestly. It’s a glacially-paced song, performed simply with a minimum of instrumental and sonic enhancements. In short, it’s stunning. ‘Raise Well’ is a solid example of Luke’s empathy for a melody (which characterises all his work so far). The pace is faster, the rhythm stronger and the artist’s voice as expressive and passionate as ever.

‘Los Angeles’ drops the pace which occasionally speeds up a little. I’ve been lucky enough to witness Luke in live performance and what you hear on record is what you get live (which can also be very humourous). And that’s the attraction of this record and its masterful production: it sounds like a live performance right there in front of you in your listening room. Lyrics are typically simple and direct:¬† “Maybe in the sands of Los Angeles/ We’ll find a new of life, just stay close/ ‘Cause you’re so much more brave than me/ But I’ll be fine if we know what we’re looking for/ Do we know what we’re looking for?” However, I do not agree this should have been the first single as the opening album tracks offer more sonic drama and impact.

‘The Last Day’ meanders gently like a mountain stream with the occasional flurries of acoustic guitar. Luke’s lyrics are direct and intelligent while his delivery locks into the songs emotional feel perfectly. ‘I Do’ gives Luke the opportunity to exemplify his sweet falsetto which is used to heighten the emotional impact of this moving song. The wonderful lyrics say it all: “But I’d hold you close and you’d pray and pray/Whisper “everything is going to be okay”/ Our final kiss Would bring such bliss/ And feel just like our first/ On the last night of my life/ Think I’d rather be surprised/ Now every night/ When I close my eyes I hold your hand so tight.”

Sital-Singh is currently one of the UK’s finest singer/songwriters and probably its best¬† kept secret - one which should not last much longer on the strength of his music and voice. Every song here hits the emotional mark while offering a diverse range of pace and sound. The quality here makes this artist very special, and in this homogeneous, mediocre musical market, more than welcome. My highlight is very difficult to choose as there’s so much great music here but if pressed I would choose ‘Love Is Hard Enough Without The Winter’ which is a stunning heartbreaker of a song. This album is Essential.



Damien Jurado IN THE SHAPE OF A STORM. Loose

“‘South’, like most songs that I write, is a collage of sorts, or collection of snapshots, that centre around two characters. One could even presume me, or me as an alternate self. Dark, isolated, and slightly menacing in tone for a waltz number.” - Damien Jurado

Pure music, pure sound, are the immediate impressions on hearing the first few chords of the opening track ‘Lincoln’. Jurado has a natural, easy voice which is the perfect accompaniment for the simple, direct lyrics and plucked acoustic. Add to these wonderful things a tangible and pleasant melody and you have the perfect opening line. For this album, Jurado recorded with only one other musician and in super-quick time. There are therefore no decorations or clever sound manipulations, and in this day and age that’s more than welcome.

‘Newspaper Gown’ is story-telling folk at its best underpinned by a strong melody. ‘South’ opens with gently plucked acoustic guitar which rises and falls in tune with Jurado’s beautiful, subtle vocal which at times whispers and at times lifts the volume just a bit higher while adding a whistle in cowboy style to complete the song. ‘Throw Me Now Your Arms’ offers diverse pace and a conversational vibe with one of the most expressive vocals on the album. The lyrics are typically excellent: “If I ran ahead would you know which way that I went without you?/In days I would be lost and afloat/Thrown into the waves, tossed ashore/Throw me now your arms.

‘Silver Ball’ picks up the pace a little while Jurado’s voice lifts a few octaves and illustrates his wide vocal range. This is one of my album highlights with its strong melody and superb instrumental arrangement. ‘The Shape Of The Storm’ is a prime example of a beautiful song, recorded in the most natural, unadorned way with production that sounds like he is playing intimately in your listening room to you alone. ‘Hands On The Table’ lifts the vibe with a little echo added to add a touch of enhanced drama.

Jurado fans will love this and modern folk fans should seriously consider it.


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