CHRIS THOMAS – Bound To The Ocean (own label)

Bound To The OceanFormerly part of a Pink Floyd tribute show, the soft-voiced Devon-based singer-songwriter has being flying solo since 2013, Bound To The Ocean being his debut album. Drawing on folk, country rock and blues influences, it opens with ‘Whenever I Sing Georgia’, a breezy early Van Morrison-ish tribute to his late step-mother, a Ray Charles fan, family connections also behind ‘Gwendolyn Rose’, written for his then six-month old daughter, a jaunty, banjo dappled country number with John Denver notes.

The title track is a gently rolling nod to his hometown and a childhood spent diving into the sea, ‘Sun Kiss’ an ode to West Country summers, while, on a more melancholic note ‘Listen To Me’ is a slow piano waltz about the lonelinesss of the long distance musician trying to be heard over pub chatter.

There’s also the inevitable quota of relationship songs, ranging from the jaunty banjo led ‘Turning Stones’ and a folksy fingerpicked ‘If Not You’ to the goodtime bluesy swing of ‘Heart Is Broke’ and, again echoing early soulful Van, ‘So Long, Travelling Away’.

Following the atmospheric fingerpicked slow waltzing ‘Back Before The Storm’, a flute and Irish whistle coloured song about the dangers the ocean can pose, it ends on a more upbeat note with the skipalong Jack Johnston-vibe of ‘Wake Up Smiling’. “Hey why don’t you listen to me?” he sings. Sound advice if you ask me.

Mike Davies

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