Every so often, an album comes along and hits you like a tsunami! This has happened to me this week when I have had the honour of doing the first review of Steve Pledgers long awaited new album – What Tomorrow Knows. It was a download (but did not detract from the sound) as the album launch is not until October 8th at the salubrious and majestic Town Hall in Durham. Tickets are selling well I hear. I am not surprised. Steve is brilliant live.
Twelve glorious tracks for the listener to enjoy and feel the raw energy that is Steve Pledger. I think this album (and I have them all) is such a huge and amazing album that it should glean awards for song writing with such imagery from his lyrics, his musicianship and production as Steve is a master of his craft. Radio 2 Folk Awards are you taking note and Mercury nominations too!
This album contains haunting ballads and up-tempo numbers so the listener is taken on a roller coaster of emotion. First song of the album is ‘The Baptist’s Father’ which is a great track to kick off the album. In this tract the listener is being urged to say whatever you are thinking. When you are young and you want to change the world then say the words and make your voices heard. Harmonies and great melody. ’Fields That Still Divide’ featuring Nigel Neill on organ and Lukas Drinkwater providing a drum beat with a bluesy guitar flavour thrown in. People standing side by side trying to keep going but still divides between nations and governments with no regard. Steady beat in a kind of marching tempo. Great instrumental in the middle of it all!
‘Salt From The Sea’ has had airplay and is I feel quite a dark, foreboding broody type of track. Steady gentle beat with excellent guitar noodling in-between. A story of the sea with brilliant imagery in the words. ‘Lay Them Down’ is a bluesy/jazzy up-tempo number bringing out Steve’s vocals to the forefront. Lukas Drinkwater who also produced the album with Steve has done this track much justice.
‘Revelation’ is about an abusive relationship over the years. Haunting violin and piano adds to the sombre air. I felt a hint of Bryan Adams ‘Everything I Do’ in the way Steve sings this one. Just lovely. ‘Sister Dear’ is a song about childhood and siblings and what childhood brings in that relationship. A hint of country music in this track.
‘Same Smile, Same Words’ – gentle guitar intro with fabulous harmonies. Brilliant dramatic ending. I can see this being an audience participation song!! Waiting To Hurt with a gentle acoustic intro telling tales of love lost through sad circumstances. Excellent saxophone from John Heslop. I do love this track for the haunting and dramatic melody, music and lyrics. A real tearjerker.
‘The Stagehands Tale’ – A story of the other side of the stage looking in as a stagehand. I felt a 20/30’s style of ragtime. Very catchy. Definitely an audience participation as heard this live on an airing when first written!
‘Blabscam’ – Rhythmic tempo back with a little political flavour. Injustice. Covers to be blown, repercussions, mistrust, empty promises. Ably assisted with fantastic fiddle from Aaron Catlow. Needs a copy of this track sending to world leaders as Steve is asking for someone to put these (-) to shame! ‘Rise’ is asking us can we afford to be so calm? Great track placing come after Blabscam. A track of questions that we are all asking. Thought provoking.
Final track – ‘Hope In Our Hands’ tells us that “if just a little hope still burns”. A fabulous acoustic track sang with passion to leave us with a dramatic instrumental ending! Loved it!
What Tomorrow Knows is an excellent album to add to your collection. All twelve tracks are quite different and all exceptional.
Artist’s website: www.stevepledger.co.uk
‘Same Smile, Same Words’ – live: