Steve Farrell is a Newcastle Upon Tyne born singer/songwriter currently living on the Norfolk coast who recently released Merry Go. There are eleven songs and almost all of them are just acoustic guitar and vocals.
I’m not saying this in a pejorative way but I felt like I was at an open mic when listening to these songs and it wasn’t just the fact that it was a guy with his guitar. It was also the recording quality which sounds very live with no overdubs.
The songs are for the most part very simple anyway you slice them. Farrell uses mostly minor and major chords with some variation and sings over it. That’s really about it. There are some nice songs overall which felt heartfelt and sincere.
I did appreciate the songs which had some added instrumentation like “Home Is Where The Heart Is.” Violin is always beautiful and that’s no exception on “Hold Back.” Almost all the songs seemed to have a very similar emotional center.
There’s a lot of reflection, nostalgia and sentimentality. Because of that, the songs really blended into one another and often felt like I was listening to variations of the same mood. There are some different chords and lyrics but the mood and feeling was consistent. On that note there were some standouts. I really enjoyed “Life Together” although this song felt like it needed a full band. The closer “Across the Sea” was a highlight as well.
The songs had a sing-along quality which is partially why perhaps I was thinking of these songs at open mic. It also reminded me of back in the '80s when I was kid and they would have singer/songwriters come to school with their guitar and sing songs. The songs felt similar to that. I hope he takes this as a compliment but certain songs like the title song “Merry Go” felt like it could be a perfect song for kids if we changed around some of the lyrics slightly.
The album is fine for what it is. It’s not trying to break boundaries or have inventive production and sometimes that’s perfectly fine. Take a listen.
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