REVIEW: David Blyth – Winter Song LP
Depth rises to the fore from the very first bar of David Blyth’s Winter Song, the title track of his full-length album. Blyth possesses that enviable quality of effortless vocal range from the get-go, making this singer/songwriter’s heart sink just a tad. It doesn’t take long for that feeling to pass as I’m quickly transported into a land of beautiful and orchestral imagery, through Blyth’s stunning piano and string arrangements. A female harmony joins on track two, A Place to Call Home, with the instrumentation minimalised to perfection, strengthening the affect of the vocals on the listener.
I speak of depth early on which is a constant throughout the album, becoming ever clearer as the tracks go on. Blyth has paid particular attention to every instrument playing a role in his arrangements. There are so many intricate and delicate sounds bouncing around the atmosphere of each of his tracks, yet they are poised in a calculating fashion, revealing the sensation of space and the feeling of warmth.
His music cannot just be written down as another generic folk, singer/songwriter release from Melbourne, of which we all know there are many. No; David Blyth’s Winter Song pinches influences from numerous different places. A sensible and careful smattering of pop exists, coupled with a unique blend of orchestral overtones, and a not-so-clear but certainly present representation of blues – with all this, the album tugs at the heart strings in a pull-push philosophy, delving the listener into Blyth’s world and sensitivity.
There’s an element of build-up flowing through the album, which seems to stagnate a little around track 6 & 7 – not to detract anything from any of these songs (they are, without a doubt, brilliant), but for an album with a wandering mood, I personally couldn’t quite find the pattern through the middle tracks.
Blyth redeems himself promptly with Your Name On the Moon, a beautiful lap steel rendition reminiscent of something of high quality from Angus & Julia Stone, The Lumineers or Jackson Browne. This song provides an excellent base to the remainder of the record, with its strained and sombre-yet-relieve lyrics leading to a more upbeat number in Every Little Feeling, which to me outlines David Blyth’s purest credentials.
I have often been a man that says “Writing an uplifting tune and setting it to incredibly depressing or dark lyrics is one of the most outstanding skills any songwriter can possess.” Blyth succeeds in this venture with track 9, which seems to quizzically and defiantly blend all portions of this review into one little track – perhaps minus the orchestral arrangements. Having said that, it doesn’t even rate as the best song on the album in my regards, but its placement, its energy and its presence are all combined to create perfection in the see-sawing mood Blyth’s album possesses.
Summer Dresses provides a final, country & old worldly-inspired epilogue. A slightly downbeat ragtime feeling through the resonating piano notes classically intertwines with a non-threatening rhythmic guitar and drum beat whilst the bass provides a plentiful grounding, as it has done all throughout the album.
Throughout, you will be treated to a subtle sweetness within David Blyth’s voice, which is laced with an ounce of despair and a layer of intrinsic hope. The delicate depth of each song provides space for the imagery to develop, heightening the visual senses and deepening the actuality of the listener’s emotion. The orchestral arrangements of strings, percussion and keys throughout Winter Song enhance the album’s strengthening pathway of ease, tension, release and contentment.
This one is a must for anyone who desires to be moved my music, to be captivated by a voice and to lose themselves in a songwriter’s world for 40 minutes. I’d happily recommend this album to anyone who has the need to ask. One of the finds of the year!
Get yours today in CD or Digital Download at www.davidblyth.com.au
The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.
Author DetailsJosh Forner
Josh Forner is a folk/pop songwriter from Melbourne, Australia and Virginia, USA. Forner was born in Melbourne on July 2 1988, and spent the first 18 months of his life there before moving with his parents to the town of Reston in Virginia, USA. At the age of 3, Forner and his mother returned to Melbourne, where he has stayed ever since.
Josh sings of love, primarily (wow, what a shock right?), but also on his list of ‘hot topics’ are politics, famine, poverty and - of course – landscapes: the folk writer’s favourite.
He’s played with some of Melbourne’s stalwarts including Timothy Cannon, Bridget Pross, Mr Brady, Pro Rata, Gabriel Lynch & Kyle Taylor, and has contributed two of his tracks to non-profit compilation CDs in the past.
Josh’s repertoire continues to grow. He released his first album, a 10-track LP entitled ‘Leading to Nowhere’ at The Workers Club on May 28th, 2013. Forner has since returned to the studio to begin work on a 5-track solo EP to be released by the end of 2013. Following that, he has plans for album number two in 2014.