TONI SIDGWICK – EP Review: “Lions”

Toni Sidgwick is an indie singer-songwriter based in County Durham in northeast England. She was born and raised in the remote Shetland Islands northeast of the Scottish mainland, and began her musical journey by busking on the streets of Edinburgh. Her unique style of folk/pop draws from influences by artists such as Ben Howard, London Grammar and Bruce Springsteen. And like those artists, her lyrics are often deeply personal and introspective, speaking to the complexities of life, relationships and her place in this world.

Toni released her debut EP Lions in June, having worked with the brilliant young producer, Lauren Deakin-Davies, and I have the pleasure of reviewing it. Delicate strums of her acoustic guitar introduce the first track “Carry My Heart,” a gentle, lovely ballad in which Toni acknowledges her independence, but also desire for a romantic connection: “I can carry my life, I’ve been doing it for some time. I can carry my life, will you carry my heart. Her vocals are understated and soft, yet reveal a quiet intensity that makes the lyrics feel all the more powerful.

Toni ramps things up a notch on “Only One Way,” a lively track about being honest and true to your feelings toward another. Toni’s vocals are clear and confident as she emphatically sings: “And I gotta stay true to me. And I gotta stay true to you. There’s only one way, only one way, only one way…that I can be.” I love the fast-paced jangly guitars and toe-tapping percussion. Just like the lyric “it makes me happy,” this song makes me happy and is my favorite on the EP.

Dance” is a beautiful, tender ballad with acoustic guitar, gentle percussion and a beguiling harmonica riff. With heartfelt emotion, Toni sings “Oh dance with me. Don’t you dare stop moving our two left feet. Slow dance, dance. We’ll go higher and higher than we dare to chance.” The title track “Lions” is a peppy little number with plucky guitars, crisp snare drum and just a hint of bass. Toni sings of drawing on one’s inner strength to make it through this crazy world: “We are lions, we gotta roar.

The folk-rock song “Be Anything” speaks to holding on to another’s love and support that enable you to be a better person: “You pull me closer. And in your heart, I can be anything.” A combination of strummed acoustic guitar, a sturdy bass line, and light percussion make for an intensely satisfying track. In fact, all five songs on Lions are intensely satisfying, and it’s clear that Toni poured her heart and soul into its creation. It’s a debut effort she can be proud of.

Connect with Toni:  WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Instagram

Stream her music:  Spotify / Soundcloud / YouTube

Purchase:  iTunes

ANDY K LELAND – Single Review: “Home Grown Muck”

Andy K Leland is an Italian singer/songwriter with a wicked sense of humor. In his bio, Andy – who was born Andrea Marcellini – calls himself Andrea’s “shadow-self,” adding that “the two selves fear each other.” Andy released his debut single “The Kingdom” in February, which I previously reviewed, and has now dropped his follow-up single “Home Grown Muck.” Like “The Kingdom,” “Home Grown Muck” offers up rather negative, biting lyrics that sharply contrast with Andy’s pleasing, upbeat acoustic guitar and quirky vocals. It seems he may be telling us to not take life so seriously after all.

Andy K Leland

About “Home Grown Muck,” Andy explains: “Can’t tell much about the song since it came out itself. And that’s cool. The only thing I remember is how dark was all around me. As for the meaning, guess it’s about me, interaction, disillusionment, sort of…Also, I do think we all need a real, actual “share button.”

Once I was clever
Now I’m the same
But I’m just frying and it’s not a blast anymore

There’s a lack of sharing
However we just pretend we’re gold
But the point is that we’re just home grown muck

Once I was clever
Now I’m more than numb
But I’m just trying to oh…
I’m trying nothing at all

There’s a lack of sharing
However we just pretend we’re gold
But the point is that we’re the scum of the world

Oh, lord please bring me something warm just like opium
But don’t dare to keep the change

Oh oh uh-oh-oh oh

Show Andy some love by following him on: Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram

Stream his music on  Soundcloud or purchase on Bandcamp

Single Review: SORICAH – “Waiting”

I had the pleasure of connecting with the talented young singer/songwriter Soricah when she reached out to me about her music. Now living in Dublin, Ireland, Soricah is of Irish/Mauritian ancestry and spent various times of her childhood and early adulthood living in Ireland, Africa, Mauritius and London. Those rich experiences give her music a unique sound that’s not tied to any one genre, in her words “taking the melodies of Ireland and the Soul of Africa to produce some truly original and captivating music.” She provided the following bio info that gives a good snapshot of her music background:

“Soricah has gigged on the London circuit as a solo artist, and is a former member of the band Rebekah Met Sarah. She has supported musical acts such as The Palma Violet and renowned celloist Jo Quail, and has been a frequent collaborator with members of The Artist Community of Studio 180 and the rich artistic warehouse scene of East London. She has also been featured on a wide variety of different artistic projects and her collaborations have been aired on Freakfm, BBC Radio One and a variety of Irish and international radio stations.”

Soricah

She recently completed recording of her debut EP Let Me Know, planned for release later this year. Her first single from the EP, “Waiting,” was just released on May 11. It’s a beautiful song, with a soothing, languid melody that conjures up images of a beach bathed by tropical breezes, at least to my mind. A distinctive element of the track is the gorgeous cello, played by Gary Molloy, which gives the track a haunting, dreamlike sound. Soricah’s strummed acoustic guitar and smooth, sensuous vocals are complemented by gentle percussion and bass, courtesy of Daniel Doherty.

Both musically and vocally, the song reminds me of Lana Del Ray. The song lyrics speak of intense passion and longing for someone. In her captivating voice, Soricah seductively croons “Come a little closer. Feel my body move. My heart is beating faster, waiting for you. / You take me away into the stars. This is where I’ll stay waiting for you, waiting for you.”

Follow Soricah on Facebook.  Stream “Waiting” on  Spotify or Soundcloud, and purchase on  Bandcamp,  iTunes  or  Amazon.