Silver Birch EPDebut EP release from Steve Henderson
CD Review – Silver Birch by Steve Henderson
After seeing Steve Henderson perform live a number of times over the past few years, it’s great to finally see a selection of his material pulled together for this debut release. “Silver Birch” – released on 28th April through Orange Dog – is a collection of six, original crowd pleasers which has seen Steve build a burgeoning live presence, including supporting PIL and the Grateful Dead.
Beginning with the uplifting and reflective waltz of “At Four”, charting the disruption caused by night dwellers and the thoughts that elicits, when your mind wanders in the dead of the night and those not around come to the fore, then balanced by renewed positivity as a new dawn breaks. It’s a really nice start to the record and showcases Steve’s way with a melody perfectly.
“Spark” kicks off in rousing fashion and doesn’t hang around, with harmonies quickly joining the lead and adding a sense of urgency. This has a feel of Del Amitri “Nothing ever happens” to me. I did buy that single so it’s no bad thing!
“Stranger abroad” is delicate, heart rending and also jaunty. Steve’s voice sounds very rich on this, as the picked guitar revolves and repeats underneath a shifting melody, which brings Oasis’ “half the world away” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feeling Groovy” to mind. There’s some really nice playing here, which almost distracts you from the sadness and loneliness of the lyrics.
The addition of Hammond organ on “I Guess I’m In Love With You Most Of The Time”, sits really well here. A plaintive reflection of the confusion, hurt and hope that love can bring.
There’s an overriding theme of relationships on this e.p.; dealing with longing, hope, regret and hurt. On “Butterflies”, Steve sings of the excitement of the new and unknown. The rhythm skips along like a kid in the first throws of infatuation, everything is up for grabs and the thought she could be his brings unbridled joy….and nerves! This always gets the crowds dancing live.
“Sit down and lie to me” has been a staple of Steve’s set for a while now and for good reason, it’s a damn good song! The vocal delivery on this is great too, almost like a 50’s croon. Lyrically, it’s about acceptance of deception, to keep the girl he loves and is a great song to finish on.
So there you are, he finally got his recording arse in gear and delivered a great e.p., which perfectly showcases his well crafted songs, ear for a melody and great singing. I hope we get to hear more recordings soon.
By Wayne Lee
Artist: Steve Henderson
Reviewer: Wayne Lee
Title: Silver Birch
Release Date: 28th April, 2017