Birmingham based Robert Lane is a performer who has learnt his trade from the ground up. Touring extensively in UK and providing support to some big names he's been attracting attention; when The Kinks' Ray Davies says very positive things about his song writing ability then we should listen. So far, however, the best place to her him has been his live sets. In 2016 an EP "Ends and Starts" was released to good reviews, but a couple of years before that came a self-titled album, the subject of this review. It should be much better known and, impressively for a début album, all the songs were written by the performer.
The opening track "One Of Those Days" is a full blooded pop song which the mainstream somehow managed to miss. It has an up-beat backing immediately that sets the toes tapping and fingers clicking to some very sing-along lyrics.
It isn't just an album of bubblegum, though, and that is one of Rob's strengths. He can write and perform equally well across a range of styles. "Very Own Way" has a much more folk feelings to it, whilst "Don't Know Love" brings Paul McCartney to mind. That's a big claim to make but justified in the circumstances.
It's one of my favourites on the album, a simple song about a man who knows he's got it wrong but doesn't know how to make it right, and Rob makes a good choice of having just a delicate guitar backing which also showcases his talent on the instrument.
"Don't know love what you want me to say
There's no words that can take it all away
With time again I would change everything
I'm so sorry for the pain that I bring."
That's a situation most people have been in and is the theme of the album. He doesn't try to solve the problems of the world or tell us what we've been doing wrong but rather chooses to explore the human condition.
Although this album has been out for a couple of years it is still an album to consider as an introduction to Rob's work and it will be interesting to see if he still maintains the same themes today. He is shortly embarking on a tour of the UK, with some European dates, and playing some impressive venues. On several of the dates he will be joint headlining with Kyshona ( http://www.kyshona.com/ ), an American artist based in Nashville who writes roots soul music based on her own experiences of life in the southern USA and her time as a music therapist. Together the two will no doubt create an evening that will make people question the world around them, as well a providing music that is certainly going to be good.
Tour details and ticketing information are available on Rob's website, but the joint tour kicks off at London's Green Note on June 6th.
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