Gareth Davies-Jones,
Chasing Light
(independent, 2011)

On Chasing Light, Gareth Davies-Jones displays a pleasant voice, some pretty good writing and nice arrangements. The overall feel is pleasant, with touches of imagination in the accompaniment -- a piano solo giving way to an organ fill in "The Fields," for example -- delivering the unexpected that keeps you interested.

And that's a good thing because Davies-Jones' voice and mostly fingerpicked guitar playing don't really deliver the unexpected. When I first heard the album, I kept waiting for Davies-Jones to break out, to energize, and it didn't happen. Further listenings confirmed my feeling that his singing was never going to leave the range of the pleasant. Maybe that's why my ear was drawn to the other values being expressed: the cellos and organs, fiddles and accordions that pop up. "Reilly," for example, is the most energetic song on the album and it gets its fire from the the backup singers, the drums, the Hammond organ and the Celtic arrangement.

Chasing Light is a pretty good album. Fans of laid back singer-songwriter material will gravitate to it but those who want some fire in their music will find it a little too tame.

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music review by
Michael Scott Cain

28 May 2011

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