When not working all hours as a Criminal Barrister's Clerk, Essex-born Shepherd has another life as a singer-songwriter, this being his second full-length album, his quivery angelic rasp vocal in the service of (save for the frisky rhythms of 'I Will Wait For You') slow or mid-tempo, acoustic-based songs exploring themes of happiness and heartbreak. If you're looking for easy comparisons, Paulo Nutini might be a good place to start.
Featuring electric guitar reverb and tinkling keys, the breathily atmospheric 'Shouldn't Be Too Hard', subtly shaded by banjo, gets things off to a solid start, to be followed by the infectious airy folksy strum of 'Better Go Back Home', a number that offers a solid entry point into his music.
The emotion-scoured and appropriately fragile 'Delicate Heart' reinforces first impressions that Shepherd is a folk-based oriented balladeer with solid mainstream crossover potential, especially among the bedsit heartache audience. He cites Bon Iver and Damien Rice as influences and certainly the likes of 'My Heart's With You', 'Midnight In Covent Garden' (a song inspired by his first post-school job as a waiter) and the intricately playued Simonesque 'Six Weeks' all warrant equal acclaim.
It ends with a live reprise of 'Falling With You' that suggests catching him in the flesh will prove an equally entrancing experience. He says that his music gets him through the week. It will get you through yours too.
|Misner & Smith: Headwaters||Luke Tuchscherer: Pieces|
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