29 May 2016

Trevor Sewell: Hollow

The Hat, along with many others, continues to wonder why Trevor Sewell isn't a mega-star on the UK Scene. A fine guitarist, arranger, producer and great song-writer, there was a queue from here to his native Sunderland lining up to praise his debut album 'Calling Your Name' and the follow-up 'Independence'
won multiple awards....but....only in America, where his work has been covered by major artists and picked up for film sound tracks. He is a familiar figure in the Capital Records studio in Hollywood where he has recorded and he has won 8 major awards in the last three years....in the States.

Hopefully, his new release 'Hollow' will put an end to all that bizarre one-sidedness and the UK flag will be raised with equal pride. This is an absolute humdinger of an album – crossing boundaries, flourishing different styles, beautifully written, terrific arrangements with a line-up of top-flight musicians and powerfully delivered with his distinctive voice soaring and whispering all over everything. Like his previous albums (hugely supported by the IBBA radio stations) - if the current UK air-play of the digital release is anything to go by, then the CD, out next month, is going to be flying off the shelves.

Hollow is a ten track affair, featuring a number of musician guests from both sides of the Atlantic and apparently its production started in Hollywood and finished in the UK. Nevertheless, it is a seamless production which takes you through half a dozen moods, rhythms and styles. It is topped and tailed by the two-parter title track which is, to be frank, a spectacular classic that would stand out in any list in the world. Full of atmospherics, moody, stuffed with urgent drumming, exciting backing vocals, resonant Cooder style slide, harp and badman lyrics delivered in Trevor's deep Crossroads-meeting voice.

He then takes a leap back into familiar laid-back Sewell territory, with 'Shaky Ground' where Chris Rea meets Mark Knopfler and pure clean strong guitar supplements some sentimental lyrics. Indeed despite the superb arrangements and musicianship, the lyrics are hugely important in all the tracks, with 'What You Say', and 'As long as I can Breathe' both tackling the familiar relation hiatus with eloquence and a touch of cynical resignation. There is also a great finger-clicking dance number 'Small Change' which puts a smart boot into someone who maybe getting above themselves...'how come you think you are so much better than me?'. As if to underline his dark and light messages about the trials and tribulations of love, the track before the final Hollow reprise is 'All I Need Is The Truth (so that I can move on)'. Yep. Don't we all.

There is a not a weak link anywhere in this album – musicianship, lyrics, both complex and stripped-out refined arrangements, solo vocals, backing vocals. The radio shows will play it and play it. You will play it and play it. It is a classic.