The melancholic opener, ‘It’s the Same’, is indicative of what you can expect from this personal journey of Paul Cowley’s. His voice is a blend of Dylan and Petty and is aptly suited to the mood of the album; a selection of folk and blues delivered in a stark and simple format, with Cowley providing all the instrumentation and vocals. His guitar playing is competently performed and is highlighted in such tracks as the instrumental ‘Chicken Song’ (a toe tapper, if not quite a foot tapper) and the laconic blues song ‘Lies’. Cowley treads confidently into Dylan territory with the excellent ‘Can’t Say I’ve Enjoyed Meeting You’, and this is probably the finest track on the album.
It all seems constrained and traditional until the strange, strident and almost discordant ‘My Kind of Girl’ struts its stuff, demonstrating Cowley can be adventurous if he has a mind to be. The title track ‘Close to You’ is a blues composition with an unusual chord progression and Cowley sings and plays with a conviction that pulls you into the music. Then, it’s back to conventional blues for the slow stomper ‘Good Thing’.
Paul Cowley’s last song, ‘Nellie May’, is another straight forward finger picking tune that rounds off a solid blues/folk album that rarely strays from the safety of convention, but is still a pleasant collection of his observations on life and will satisfy many fans of the genre.
Ron D Bowes