“Heaven knows I need you now” – Heaven Knows – The Southern Companion
Country 2 Country 2016 is getting closer and closer and I’m struggling to contain my excitement! One of my favourite parts of the weekend is discovering new talent on the Pop-up stages dotted around the O2. However the artist I’m going to talk about today is an artist who is not new to performing on big stages and I have had the pleasure of watching him perform on a number of occasions. He performed at one of the country nights organised through the blog and that was the first time I heard his music, a few months later I saw him at the Cornbury Festival, he is Lulu’s guitarist! This year he is performing his own music at C2C on the Big Entrance stage at 4pm on Friday, kicking off the whole festival! So today I’m bringing you a review of his album 1000 Days of Rain.
The album begins with an uptempo number, ‘Crash’, the first thing I’m drawn to is Darren Hodson’s clean vocals, he has a lovely tone to his voice. There is a good use of Backing Vocals, in fact the harmonies throughout the album are lush and used to great effect. The production is interesting on this track and similarly on the second track, ‘Feels Like Years’, which starts off very stripped back. The lyrics are strong in this song, very heartfelt and true to life. ‘This Love Of Mine’ follows, the intro to this is big and the chorus is fantastic, I particularly like the line “Though you put me through hell thanks for the ride.”
‘Heaven Knows’ is the 4th track on the album, this was my favourite on the record so far though I feel this is a record that just gets better and better as it progresses through the track list. The vocals on this track are particularly strong and again the harmonies are sublime! ‘The Leaving Kind’ sees a small departure from what we’ve heard so far, this has a more classic country feel to it and the hook line is repeated a lot but at the end of verses which set different scenarios and stories, lyrically its very cleverly written and I particularly like the “Fingers trapped in closing doors” metaphor. The instrumentation throughout the album is quite typical for a country album but the way it has been arranged and produced is very original.
‘Lullaby For G’ is the 6th song on the album, this is obviously a very personal song for Hodson who gives a mention to his daughter in the credits section of the lyric booklet along with his wife. This song, though very personal to Darren is also relatable to Fathers and Daughters alike. The lyrics are well crafted and the instrumentation fits well with the subject matter and in fact I think this has become my favourite off the album. ‘Dead Man Walking’ is a catchy number, very upbeat, perhaps the most country-pop song on the album so far, lovely use of the organ and the chorus is fantastic and this song features a classic key change which is uplifting and takes the song and listener to a different place. Key changes can sometimes be cheesy but this one is perfectly executed. In the next song, ‘Waiting On A Corner’, we hear some more great harmonies, its a great concept and a really beautiful love song.
The penultimate song on the album is a little more rock and roll and you can hear the influences in this song as he talks about being born the ‘Wrong Side Of The 70s’. It features a fabulous guitar solo and is riddled with hooks. ‘Letting You Go’ concludes the album, its a nice way to finish off the album, a beautiful country ballad that appears to be for and about his mum. Again its a very personal song thats really relatable. The whole album gives an insight into The Southern Companion, a family man, who really puts his heart on his sleeve in some of these songs and that’s quite courageous for an artist to do. The detail in his lyrics paints a strong image in the listeners mind accompanied by some fantastic production.
This is one gent you don’t want to miss on the pop-up stages so get there nice and early for his set on Friday and get the weekend off to a great start with The Southern Companion. Be sure to grab yourself a copy of the album beforehand, ‘1000 Days Of Rain’ can be bought from iTunes or Amazon.