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Andy Smythe: Press

Love Unspoken

Andy Smythe, a name to remember. This London based multi-talented singer/songwriter originally from Shropshire is going to be big. Andy has played such venues as The Borderline, The Half Moon, and the 12 Bar Club, and at Folk Festivals like The Broadstairs Folk Festival and will be there this year. Andy’s polished performances have won over many audiences and he has earned accolades from the likes of Mike Scott of The Waterboys. Andy performs either solo, in a duo with violin player David Camrass or in a full band. Andy’s work is far beyond your average Mr Music Man.

Love Unspoken starts with Autumn Gold. (This was the first song I heard Andy sing, my introduction, I wanted more, and within 1 and a half hours I had listened to the album 3 times. It is now my favourite album in the CD player in the car. So be warned!) We then have Half Me, Half You, which is a song about Andy’s little son, and this has got on the prestigious CMJ Music Monthly CD sampler in the States. Real Love brings words that bring tears to my eyes, as does the title track Love Unspoken, all about Granddad. Andy has a real knack of finding a way to your very soul. Andy has a real mellow, warm and melodic voice that actually reminds me of Donovan.

San Francisco is easier on the emotions, then Why is nothing Simple!!!! Whiskey Priest is full band going at full tilt and a real change from the quiet and shy acoustics! Brilliant! My Old School reminds me of school dinners, bell ringing and is a real singalong. Lucky Man is another favourite of mine, the words in this should win an Oscar!

The last track England in the Summer is about cricket, lazy days, bicycles, building fires, all this being memories of a lonesome child.

Only thing I could mention that could do with a revamp is the front cover, which is a painting of Andy I guess. He has a lovely back cover, and inside, and I would have done something more than has been done.

It should be mentioned that other music critics such as Traditional Music Maker, Folk on Tap, Folk Roots Mag, Get Rhythm and Irish World have all given Andy the thumbs up!

Hopefully, Andy will be doing a mini tour mid to late summer in the Devon area, Gigs will be posted on Folking.com as soon as we have details. He is also heading for the States in the Autumn. Catch him in the UK while you can.

There is a video of Our Gang accompanying the release of Love Unspoken in the States on May 27th.

To buy this CD, to check on gigs or to book Andy visit www.andysmythe.com.
Love Unspoken comprises 13 tracks written by singer, instrumentalist and songwriter Andy Smythe’s I had not heard him before I was asked to review this CD, I would like to know more about him.

As I started to listen to the CD for the first time, I opened the sleeve notes and was instantly
drawn to the singer, his performance and sentiments. The lyrics stand on their own as poetry. Drawing on personal experience and feelings to convey his sentiments the imagery is beautiful. Most of the songs deal with love in some form, whether for a place, a partner or between father and son. With such evocative words it is worth closing your mind to anything else, allowing nothing to detract and becoming totally absorbed in the CD.

The instrumentation complements the lyrics perfectly. It is often haunting. Yet always in keeping, never overbearing. Andy Smythe himself is a very talented instrumentalist and performs on guitar, piano, clarinet, accordion and mandolin, as well as on vocals. He is joined by other equally able musicians on violin, viola, cello, bass and drums. This range gives some indication of the skilled instrumentation.

It is hard to know what genre of music Andy Smythe’s music represents. There are distinct elements of traditional folk music as there are of popular singers. He has a voice very pleasant to the ear, totally relaxed and natural, which will appear to a wide audience.

It was when I started writing this review that I realised how much the CD had come to mean to me. From having been drawn to it on first listening it has become to be a much played CD. If you relate to what is written about the above lyrics and settings I recommend that you buy this CD without delay.
Seeing the late Clifford T Ward on a repeated ‘Old Grey Whistle Test’ on television recently made me realise what a quintessentially English songwriter he was and I was reminded of him whilst listening to Andy Smythe whose similarity in the vocal department was matched by the Englishness of his writing. Andy is responsible for every lyric and every note of this, I believe, his first album. Dealing with the natural world (‘Autumn Gold’ ‘England in the Summer’), memories of the past (‘My Old School’), a paean to San Francisco, appropriately called ‘Sa Francisco’, as well as the more usual introspective love songs, he displays a nice line in lyrics coupled with some pleasing tunes. He plays guitar and is accompanied by up to four musicians on violin, keyboards, bass, drums, mandolin, piano e.t.c. All told a very satisfying debut album.
Paul Hudson - Folk on Tap
Love Unspoken Review

Andy Smythe is one of those much maligned beasts, a singer-songwriter based in London, and this one has gently been levering away at his craft since the late 90’s. Sometimes accompanied by a full band or just Chris Payne’s fiddle, this is his third CD of a specifically English school of writing which can be mechanically downbeat one moment, and celebratory the next. The quality of the writing strikes through from the full lyric insert – ‘Latin mottos, blazers and ties – hymns resounding in battle cry (from ‘My Old School’) sums up the alma matter to a tee whilst the spiteful anger spat out on ‘Why is Nothing Simple’ – ‘your thoughts are poisoned with disdain, you are not worthy of my hate’ (from ‘Why is nothing simple’) would not be out of place in the punkish suburbs of 25 years back. Andy treads an agile path through his chosen genre avoiding by in large its ponderousness and emptier excesses.

This is altogether an intelligent album in the best sense of the word. With none of the rag bag ambience that sometimes pervades the world of the acoustic troubadour, Smythe is occasionally the match of anything his role models (Nick Drake and Roy Harper) have achieved. His feather-light voice can seem at odds with the taut ad fraught nature of some of the writing, but there’s no denying the sheer sense of purpose that makes this CD a cohesive whole.

Andy’s creative vision never loses its focus whether he’s asking us to treasure the natural world we inhabit or ponder some of the less significant human activities such as, erm, playing cricket. A likeable and mature work then.
Clive Pownceby - Tradition Magazine
The award for the most wittily titled album of 2005 must go to Last Throes of Summer by Andy Smythe.
The compositions come straight from the singer and are all the better for this. Smythe has an ear for words and a knack for writing well about the ordinary things of life.
"Our Gang" is an excellent example of this as he paints a recent picture of childhood in England. No doubt all childhood memories will be kindled by the lyrics of stone throwing and fighting with friends.
A favourite song for me is "Let's Fall in Love Again," a gentle, quiet and thoughtful piece. The universality of the American Indian experience is evident as this English singer tells their sad tale on "No Heroes."
Another "could be" classic is the wonderful "Maid of the Loch." Given enough exposure, this could become a standard. "Brothers" is a story-song telling a sad tale of loss. The marriage of lyrics and the simple melody is electric in telling the tale.
The album ends with the title track. Here Smythe brings us into the pastoral English countryside and describes a satisfied life to perfection.
Andy Smythe is a name to watch and a singer to listen to. The album is available through his website, where you can preview some tracks before purchasing.