I’ve been ill! Regular readers of ours may have thought we had been quiet over the last week or so. That has been because I’ve been out of action, Benny is overwhelmed with work, and Mark was dealing with “stuff!” (as for Stevie, she reviews the rock and blues side of things, and Rebecca is a country gal). That said, we have some really great pieces coming up in the next week or so, and I’m very excited about them!
But as I lie here with the Lemsip and hot water bottle, and as the rain pounds down on my little house, the cat sits looking down on me from the top of my bookcase. It had to be time to listen to the new EP from Rebecca Richards. The EP was released on the 17th November, and it is a marker of how well Rebecca is doing now. We spoke to her a year or so ago when she was releasing her first official record, and she has been gathering plaudits for her singer-songwriter country pop ever since.
‘New Yesterday’s’ is a musical exploration of relationships in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ stages. From yearning to find ‘the one’, the painful realisation that it’s not going to work, and finally, the revelation of not being sorry, it’s over. Based on personal experiences and through the eyes of others, Rebecca touches the raw and rollercoaster of emotions when relationships do not last the distance. Her creative use of chord shifts and strong
melody beautifully knits the lyrical pathos with gorgeous vocals and arrangements.
And so onto the review:
“Unluckiest of Hearts” has been out as a single before, and it’s good to have it here. It has a sweetness to it, but also a vocal that occasionally chews a bullet. I like a lyric that includes the word “serendipity” as well; you have to say that was well worked! The following comment comes from Rebecca in a piece around the time the single was released, when she spoke to us.
Rebecca- I’ve been involved with music in some shape or form all of my life, but over the last couple of years I got back involved with music again, and over the last couple of years I was part of a duo, Ruby Rebels, with my friend, with whom I share a love of country music (and ice skating). We started to sing together, doing country covers pre-lockdown, Lockdown, posting videos on Facebook to entertain family and friends over the pandemic. Then, during that time, I was involved with songwriting, always a love of mine, and we did a couple of my songs together. But then, in December 2021, I discovered an online songwriting group for people over 50 called “Talent is Timeless,” and my songwriting started in earnest then. We have online songwriting contests, and we write about certain themes. My peers noted that “Unluckiest of Hearts,” my first single, was their favourite. Over the last few months, I’ve been doing live gigs and being in the studio.
I reviewed “New Yesterdays” in October, so I am familiar with it. New Yesterdays brings a new collaboration with First Time Flyers’ Tim Prottey-Jones, who produced the track. This country-infused song describes a difficult relationship and the agonising that takes place over whether to stay or go. She says she’s going to leave, but will she?
Rebecca: I wrote this about 18 months ago on the mandolin. It was called something else previously, but when I asked the opinion of a trusted friend, he wasn’t fussed about the title, so I changed it, and I think it’s better for it. You won’t have heard them because they are unreleased, but a lot of the songs I perform live have quite a bit of angst in them. I often joke that I write miserable songs, so this doesn’t feel new to me, but guess that it is in comparison to my previous releases. I also like to think I’m maturing as a songwriter, and I hope this comes through both musically and lyrically.
I said of it in October: This one sees her move even more firmly toward the country sound. It begins with a guitar sound from Hank Marvin’s back pocket, and the lyrics are a lament toward a broken relationship. The track is radio-friendly, and the chorus is one that has poignancy and easy appeal; its smooth, well produced, and great late-night listening.
And listening to it again, I hold by what I said!
“Memories Don’t Know” introduces a piano-based melody and this whimsical track with a ‘smooth radio’ late-night feel. I am happy to have the sofa and (at this point) a nice cup of tea for this one; it’s a musical chocolate hob-nob, slightly crunchy with that sweet topping. It’s wistful and relaxing.
“Just Say” plays with the piano melody again, a gentle beat underpinning the lyrics that are delightfully delivered. I like it when the drums kick in and lift the song, and the vocals take it up a notch. The song has an underlying power, and I liked it. I would bet that this one would sound great live; it’s more in rock ballad territory.
“Sorry not Sorry” is an interesting track, with a touch of the blues entering the sound. This is definitely more of a dirty groove with a decent beat, and you could slow dance to it fine if you were so inclined.
“Overthinking” completes this EP, which, at six songs, is almost an album! It is a touching ballad, dreamy and sad.
So overall, a strong debut EP from a singer-songwriter we like here at the magazine. It relaxed me, and it mixes country and the blues to create a smooth sound that is ideal for that evening or late-night listen. It’s a very fine debut, a solid collection of where Rebecca is musically, and is indicative of her progression as an artist and increasing confidence as a songwriter.
Standout track: “Just Say.”
By Lorraine Foley
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