There are plenty of “guys with guitars” plying their trade out there, although some might prefer the term singer-songwriter, or perhaps even troubadour, who are happy to explore the same rootsy sonic pathways. Or at least explore them in the same old way. What is great about Jake Merritt is that he travels such honest and heartworn byways in a much more exciting and eclectic fashion.

Far from just approaching those traditional genres in traditional ways, he is happy to merge the boundaries between them, merge and meld their various properties and timeless sounds into something new. Well, if not entirely new, then certainly very rarely done, and seldom done this well.

Take the opener, Hometown. Right from the opening bars, you are immersed in soulful likes, seductive sax, beatific blues, and heavenly harmonies. Any thoughts of him being just another blues basher or folk devotee are immediately out of the window. Take Your Time is the sound of timeless Delta emotiveness polished and powered up for the modern age, and Time To Move On is a raw, country ballad with the usual cliche dialled down to way below zero and, for a change, something significant to say about the fabric of society.

An impressive album and one that draws into one thread all the disparate and varied strands that make up the truly American music experience.

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