Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Janet Simpson - Safe Distance

Safe Distance is the first album Janet Simpson has released under her own name, but it’s clearly not her first music. She has been part of some terrific collectives, including Delicate Cutters, Teen Getaway, Wooden Wand and World War IV, so we are familiar with her talent. But given the space of a whole album and the opportunity to make it her own, Simpson has knocked it out of the park. From the waltz-time title track to the Latin-tinged “Wrecked” to a generous helping of guitar-driven country rock like “Nashville Girls”, “Reno” and “I’m Wrong”, there is not a wrong note on this record. Here's the video for "Nashville Girls":


 She sings well in line with the guitars on the latter songs, but the real showcase of Simpson’s vocals is on songs like “Ain’t Nobody Looking” and "Black Turns Blue", where the guitars are turned down, an acoustic guitar, quiet keyboards or a bass line carries the tune and she just sings.


That's some amazing singing, strong, light, clear, resonant - on a couple of beautifully-played and arranged songs. It will be a long long time before I'm tired of this record. Of special note, one of her co-conspirators is Will Stewart, whose project The Blips we covered here last week. Same label, too - Cornelius Chapel records. Something going on in Birmingham! 

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