Andy Smythe,
Love Unspoken
(Dreaming Element, 2002)

As I sit here in November, making believe I'm in New England, rather than Old England, I only have to open my eyes to know what Andy Smythe was thinking of when he wrote the first song on this lyrical album. "Autumn Gold" is wonderfully poetic. "Swallows dart across the heath/A thriving drove of speckled thieves/Plundering from the grassy turf/A feast of life, with cunning verve." See what I mean?

"Changing Seasons" and "England in the Summer" add to the pastoral feel, but there's real emotion on this album alongside the descriptive beauty. There are songs about sons and grandfathers, about loss and love unspoken (of course). And there's nostalgia too, with the whimsical "My Old School" that has me yearning for my own playground days in a friends-reunited kind of a way.

Andy's vocals are ably backed by some strong support playing from Chris Payne, in particular. "Real Love," for example, features violin, viola and cello to great effect.

This is pleasant, easy-on-the-ears and easy to enjoy contemporary folk.

- Rambles
written by Jean Lewis
published 13 December 2003

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