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Daniel Meade Daniel Meade
Album: When Was The Last Time
Label: Button Up
Tracks: 9
Website: http://www.danielmeademusic.com

If you've yet to come across Daniel Meade, it's not because he hasn't been trying to get heard. This is the Glasgow singer songwriter's seventh album in five years and he's been on the road with Old Crow Medicine Show and Sturgill Simpson as well as a few jaunts round the block playing keys and banjo for Ocean Colour Scene.

Previous releases have run the gamut of human emotion and studio styling, but this latest is possibly his most assured and accomplished yet. Uplifting without sounding forced, the songs speak of a quiet defiance, of not giving up, of keeping on keeping on.

It seems they started out as letters written to and for himself to stave off growing feelings of anxiety and depression. Those words evolved into lyrics and eventually into songs. In recording them Meade played all the instruments except drums, for which he brought in Texas sticksman Ross McFarlane.

The result is a confidant cohesive record that sounds as good with the road stretching out ahead as it does sat around the kitchen table. The songs don't demand to be heard, they don't need to, they sound pretty sure enough that people will want to hear them.

From the rousing opening cut As Good As It Gets, through the searing If the Bombs Don't Kill Us, in lesser hands this would be the kind of euphoric uplift Chris Martin learned to ape at the feet of Bono, but Meade's sturdy voice and robust guitar figures replace the bombast with a vulnerable, soulful sting.

There's a tender side to all this as well and on So Much For Sorrow the voice ably survives the scrutiny of being placed front and centre with no hiding place.

The first single, Oh My My Oh, is a festival anthem in waiting with the verses driven by a classy guitar jangle before a Beatley bridge links to the singalong chorus. It's in amiable company with the title track's piano figure that could have fallen off a Springsteen stage and a defiantly tuneful bass line worthy of the Attractions' Bruce Thomas in his prime.

The closing Don't We All takes us back to the folk club or campfire and makes common cause with the lost causes, no hopers, rogues, rebels, dreamers and schemers that lurk in us all.

Nick Churchill
www.nickchurchill.org.uk