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Album/Single Reviews

Luke Whittemore – Northern Town



Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 13.54.53Nottinghamshire based artist Luke Whittemore is set to release his debut record ‘Northern Town’ on June 10th, an introduction to a very promising new artist with a distinct style, both musically and lyrically. The record has been a “labour of love” for Luke, with times of both desperation and elation during the writing process. The end product is an impressive collection of well-crafted songs that will delight fans of traditional country.

We saw Luke for the first time when he opened for Cale Tyson in Nottingham recently, and we were seriously impressed, not only by the quality of his performance but also the sheer honesty and conviction in his song writing. It’s refreshing to see a UK artist not falling into the ‘mainstream’ trap, producing real, soulful country music. If this record is a sign of things to come, we have a great new talent here who deserves recognition.

There are a number of highlights on this 6-track EP. The opening track ‘If It Weren’t For The Rain’ is a gentle foot-tapper with a gorgeous mandolin in the background throughout the track giving it a pure country feel. The subtle instrumentation allows Luke to come to the forefront, drawing us in with the intriguing story in the song. It’s one that will delight fans of traditional country.

Luke doesn’t stray far from the traditional path at any point, each and every song is laid-back, allowing the lyrics and storytelling nature of the songs to take the limelight. ‘Have Mercy’ is a superb track, starting with a single guitar accompaniment, introducing pedal steel and drums along the way. “What these eyes have seen I’ve done my best to hide. There’s a dusty trail of misery where the devil just don’t hide” – the aforementioned honesty in the song writing exemplified. Luke doesn’t need any catchy, up-beat melodies to achieve his goal, it’s all about the lyrics and he is able to paint a picture with his words.

‘So Far Apart’ is the only track on the EP not written by Luke. It was written by Dawn Sears, Jimmy Miles and Steve Oliver and is a beautiful song about two people being “so close but so far apart”. Luke’s delivery of the song is stunning and was a highlight during his opening set for Cale Tyson. You can hear the frustration and pain in his voice and you really find yourself becoming lost in the desperation of the person in question. The use of a pedal steel also takes the song to another level. Impressive.

Although we’ve only mentioned a few of the tracks here, in truth the whole EP is worth listening to and there aren’t any weak spots. It won’t appeal to the masses, but if you appreciate great musicianship and real country music, give it a try. There aren’t too many artists making this kind of music any more, particularly in the UK, so it’s time to get behind traditional country music once again. ‘Northern Town’ will be available everywhere on June 10th.

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