Review: Alex Wood – I Am Not Lost

Posted on: Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Alex Wood – I Am Not Lost

(Woodman Records)

Wood apparently didn’t start playing guitar until he’d turned 20. I don’t know when that was but he’s clearly being working hard at perfecting his craft ever since.

We’re in thoughtful singer-songwriter territory here but this is not gazing-at-the-floor stuff, rather a nicely balanced mix of blues, soul and folk originals. Wood’s style is acoustic but he has the full sound here. Producer Rich Young clearly contributes a great deal, we are left to assume that he may even add everything apart from that acoustic guitar.

On “Love Speaks Loudest”, for instance, there are three sets of keyboards. But the backing never stops the songs from breathing, this track, like the earlier finger-clicking “Bright Lights,” is a sweet soul number where Wood’s expressive vocals are mellow yet aching with suggested power.

The title-track opener is a light-textured, laid-back blues with a splendid harmonica finale above the ever-rolling neatly-picked guitar. Wood, indeed, is not lost, just taking his time.

“Chameleon” changes the colouring somewhat, a near-funky rolling blues with cool organ, wailing harp, snappy drums and an insistent chorus which long stays in the head, suggesting this is one of many numbers waiting to be discovered – and covered. The groove the duo dig here fades far too soon.

“The Banker’s Boy” proves Wood’s worth as a writer with a thoughtful message but there’s fun-filled foot-tappers here too. “One Stone” is an up-tempo, good-time runaround which again sounds like there’s a full band here. There’s great acoustic guitar and piano dexterity, too, on “Street Preacher” to add more upbeat flavour with a confident vocal.

“Hiding Behind My Guitar” is the nearest to traditional singer-songwriter fare here, a lovely and reflective song with a vocal delivery that recalls, just slightly, someone else – but I can’t think who. Thought it might be Michael Chapman but it isn’t. Answers on a postcard please.

JOHN BOTTOMLEY

http://www.alexwoodband.co.uk/

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