On the Bandcamp page for Nathan TR Shaw’s latest album Best Friends he has a picture of what I presume is him with a huge guitar. The guy looks ridiculously happy; completely in the moment, singing his heart out and not giving a hoot about anything else. The picture pretty much encapsulates the feel and general vibe of the album.
The songs on this album were written since he has been in Guatemala. He came there with an acoustic guitar, a microphone and an iPad. Some of the quality wasn’t very good but a handful of songs surprised me at how good they sounded.
The first song “Best Friends” is one of the songs that could have benefitted from a better recording quality but despite that it’s a pretty infectious song and bursts with exuberance. Shaw sings, “We're best friends. Woo-hoo-hooo. Like Tom and Jerry when they're backstage and friendly. You had my back and now I hope that you are happy.” “Fernanda” is a decent song but out of time. Shaw gets back on track with “Jacob,” which is a playful song that revolves around what sounds like a set of spoons, guitar and vocals. It has a sing-along type quality that is perfect for playing around a campfire. Shaw purposely exaggerated his voice. Sometimes it works; sometimes he goes a bit overboard.
“Isabelle” plays out like a whimsical hymn. A bit of New Age mixed with fantasy...like kings and game of thrones fantasy. He sings “Isabelle, princess of Harmer Castle. Isabelle, rule with love. Treat your subjects well. And don't forget to wave. “ The highlight for me was “Hugo,” which implemented back door Mississippi blues that sounded just fine to me. In fact I would have loved to hear a bit more of this style.
Shaw gets a bit bored with the English language and sings “Yesica” in Spanish. The guy is arguably a better singer in Spanish. ”Thomas Riley” is the most ambitious song on the album as he implements synths and seems to get out of his comfort zone.
This album is a step up from Shaw’s last effort. It’s nowhere near perfect but it’s hard to resist a guy who seems to completely enjoy the music he is making. Recommended.
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