Craig Edmonds makes his recording debut with a very impressive piece of work made more so by the fact that he’s done it all himself: writing, performing, producing and designing the packaging. I should say that the limited edition CD comes wrapped in a translucent (probably recycled) plastic outer sleeve that echoes the design you see above. It’s indicative of the fact that a lot of trouble has gone into this project. Craig lives in south London and before you-know-what happened he played drums in a blues band. Practicing drums alone gets a bit dispiriting after a while and, as Craig says, isn’t a favourite with the neighbours. So he bought a 12-string guitar and embarked on a new musical journey. Remarkably, he wrote, recorded, designed and marketed the album in just a year.
A clue to Craig’s style is found in the opening lines of ‘Oh To Be Back There’: “I had a dream I lived in California, back in ‘73”. There’s more Laurel Canyon than Croydon in his music. The album is divided into two halves labelled ‘Sunrise’ and ‘Sunset’ and ‘Sunrise’ opens with a field recording – Craig recorded a lot of the album on walks – and some of the most tuneful tuning-up I’ve ever heard. Then, possibly as an in-joke, he counts himselves into ‘In The Morning’, layering harmonies over a song in praise of being outside in the morning sunshine. ‘Sing So No One Hears Me’ beings with thoughts about dried up streams where the water has been channeled away to the city. As he walks he discovers a half-hidden track and echoes Robert Frost in the lines “The most difficult paths are often not taken and most folks don’t even try”.
‘Bunny Song’ was composed on the bench pictured and leads comfortably into ‘Tea And Scones’ describing a picnic on the common. ‘Oh To Be Back There’ is rather more fanciful but eventually wends its way back to that picnic. ‘Mountainside’ opens with the sound of running water and is most likely about California, there being no wolves in south London as far as I know. The running water leads into ‘Sunset’ and a slightly darker mood.
‘What’s Really Been Going On?’ is about a love affair that just withered away, or so it seems, while ‘Starlings’ is inspired by watching a murmuration but is about escape, a common preoccupation during lockdown. I haven’t decided whether ‘Lemongrass’ is a dream or a study of a real relationship. It seems to end well, unlike that of the couple depicted in ‘Rain’. Finally, ‘Night Watcher’ brings the day to an end and the singer is happily star-gazing.
Craig Edmonds is a most accomplished debut. It seems simple: just voice and guitar but two things set it apart. First is the arrangement with multi-layered vocal harmonies and a second guitar providing a counterpoint to the song and second is the found sound that runs through the whole album, evoking the countryside within the city which is where the inspiration comes from.
Artist’s website: https://craigedmonds.bandcamp.com/
‘Sing So No One Hears Me’ – official video: