Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1094

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Review

Shawn Lee : Rides Again

Shawn 1

9

6.4

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UK release date 08.11.2019

Shawn Lee is carving quite a niche for himself.I first came across him some years back when he was doing the Ping Pong Orchestra and doing select opening deejaying sets for the likes of Alan Hawkshaw and KPM allstars.Then I'd have to mention his connection with ace soul band, The Monophonics anf if you were to be so lucky you can catch him strumming his 12 string with them sporadically. Let's not forget either he's just produced Hannah Williams new hotly tipped album too- yes 'Everybody's Talkin' about him! His album not only offers one instrumental but two ! 'Mr Maestro' is a great one and it's full of,off beat charm and character immersed with killer organ.Hit the road Jack! Shawn and his posse have just hit town.The other one,'Joyland' just completely slayed me - SO SOULFUL.

Lee delivers stirring, compassionate compositions of soul/country/pop like standards and yes, he wears his influences on a long sleeve but these are no sterile retreads. The Sly / Shuggie /Thomas cheapo drum machine intros intrinsically set the mood which will get the listener thinking where's he going to go now? Maybe off down the road of The Flamingos like 6/8 soul vibe of 'Where Ever The Wind Blows' or chasing dolphins whilst whistling 'Crystal Springs' to them? Suffice to say tune after tune demonstrates his strong and agile songwriting abilities.The steely blue eyed soul of 'Kansas City Summer' being my fave but there's other killer tunes such as the southern soul funkiness of 'Farmer Brown' that adorn this sterling platter.Certified organic and not a farmed animal in sight!This stuff has provenance.

Lee lays down vocals that radiate and resonate both gritty melancholy and the freedom of escape, cut off from the world to soar within his dreams and desperately trying to remember more of those childhood summer days and stories. The leap into falsetto on the fantastic 'Losing My Mind' and the aforementioned 'Farmer Brown' is choice, as is the Webb-esque coda.This man isn't playing make believe he has royally paid his dues. This sterling album is payback for him It's without a shadow of a doubt a veritable tour de force.Here's hoping he gets the widespread acclaim he deserves.
Words Emrys Baird

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