Kevin Sherwood is a singer/songwriter who has been creating music for a good portion of his life. At the age of seventeen he picked up a guitar and a little later in life studied classical guitar and even sang in the chorus at his college. Throughout his twenties and thirties he played in rock bands and eventually ended up working on his solo career, which is where we are today. His release 8 Years Later is a mostly DIY effort (besides the mastering) but make no mistake about it this is the sound quality you would expect from a pro studio. It’s really not that surprising when you take into account Sherwood worked with Tom Hite who is the lead sound designer for EA Games.
The music on 8 Years Later contains mellow acoustic based, guitar and vocal lead songs that showcase a songwriter with innate talent and skill. Sherwood has a palatable, smooth voice and his guitar playing is top notch. It should also be noted that 8 Years Later could be considered a concept album. Sherwood has stated “8 Years Later is a collection of mellow acoustic songs written throughout my life during hours of personal contemplation with lyrics inspired by my study of the Light and Sound Teachings or what is known in the East as Surat Shabda Yoga.”
In all honesty this fact had little to do with my appreciation of his music and if I didn’t read about it, it never would have entered into my mind. That being said when you listen to some of the lyrics they are indicative of that. Sherwood seems to split his lyrics between spiritual truths and interpersonal relationships.
The album starts with “Desdemona” which is a solid opener revolving around little more than acoustic guitar, bass and vocals. It’s a catchy song that has a tinge of Crosby, Stills and Nash and The Eagles. “Peace Pipe” is another solid song not too far away from the opener. His lyrics are simple and straightforward with no ambiguity. He sings, “Stop walkin’ round in circles/Stop wondering your life away/Live your life.”
Sherwood wisely mixes things up on the next song “Propaganda Man” which is the arguable highlight on the album. The warm, orchestral strings were a nice touch and the guitar playing and singing is exceptional. He keeps things interesting with a flute on “All There Is” while “Beyond The Sun” has a bit more energy due to the drums he implemented into the song. As the album progresses the highlights were “Into The Now” and the contemplative “Sentenced.”
8 Years Later isn’t perfect but it is a solid release from Sherwood that got my attention. The production, general flow and songwriting all get thumbs up. Recommended.
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