Gerald Edward – You Write The Words
I came across Gerald Edward a short while ago. I didn’t really know what to expect but I’m always interested in hearing new singer/songwriter talents. The rootsy yet current sound Edward displays on “You Write The Words” was right up my alley so it’s definitely a CD that I enjoy. Musically it’s actually quite solid and Gerald Edward has quite strong vocals too.
There are 10 songs on the album that showcase what this musician is all about very well. While his sound is very current you can often hear influences from rock & roll, folk, americana and even some honky tonk. Most of the time very subtle, but musically he incorporates these influences very cleverly.
Some of the key tracks like No Show, Dear Terena & the beautiful Put The Brakes On show that Gerald Edward has massive potential and in time, with the right promotion, there is definitely radio appeal. I can imagine many college and local stations already playing his songs and that wouldn’t be such a bad way to start the way up. Cause with this display of talent, the way up is the only possible way things can go for Gerald Edward.
The uptempo Fast As I Can opens the album. It immediately gets the juices flowing and gives you a good example of incorporating styles like rock & roll and honky tonk into a very current sounding singer/songwriter song. By adopting the best from other styles and making it into a catchy, pleasant-sounding pop song, Edward manages to set the tone for an interesting album. He then continues with one of the album’s highlights. A more free song, a rock & roll song with some swing in it, No Show is a display of raw musical talent, both in songwriting and in execution. I could say that the production drowns out the vocals a little bit sometimes, but without pointing out too many production/engineering issues, this song displays talent and potential.
The more laid-back and folky Simple Guy has a bit of a John Mayer-esque feel to it, even though Edward’s vocals do not resemble Mayer’s. But it has the same kind of simplicity in it without being a simple song. The nice rhythm exercised by the guitar and drums covered by the guitar melody (listen to the solo in the song too!) has a very cool effect. Spies is more uptempo again and while it’s catchy and has interesting little moments, the song in itself doesn’t wow me. Vocally impressive, and it has a nice summertime feel to it, but not the most impressive track on the record.
Dear Terena is another very interesting track with the laid-back rock & roll feel again. Once again a resemblance to John Mayer comes to mind, but that might not be entirely fair. The build up of the song is very cool as it really starts to grow as it goes on. The changes in tempo and intensity give this song extra body and vocally Edward really plays with the different parts of the song. Very impressive.
The guitar playing in Panic Mode, which is a lot grittier and has a more alternative edge, is very good. And the intenser vocals Edward displays here are also very strong. I imagine this would make for a very good live song. I enjoy the little solo around when the last minute of the song starts. Very rock & roll! There’s a nice danceable swing in I’m Your Fool, that may make this song an interesting contender for radio airplay. I don’t think I would have picked this one as my first choice for a radio song, but the more I listen to it, the more I can see that it could do alright.
And then the crown jewel of “You Write The Words”, Put The Brakes On, which is an acoustic song (reminds me a little bit of Ben Howard maybe?) with a very soothing sound and melody and VERY impressive vocals. The intimacy and personal connection in this song (you feel like Edward is really singing this to/for you) makes it a very special and impressive song. It also kind of reminds me of Simon & Garfunkel in a way. It has that same characteristic of immediately being an interesting song. And lyrically I think this is a very good song as well. Gerald Edward shows that he’s a master of the more intimate, acoustic singer/songwriter songs, because Firefly is another gem of a song. Once again I point out the excellent vocals, but listen to the musical arrangement that’s filled with feeling and accentuates the right parts of the song to emphasize the lyrics and vocals. One of those songs you just believe and can easily relate to. Great climax in the song too!
The more uptempo and happy-sounding Who We Are closes the album in a americana-like fashion, that really suits this artist. This is what I expect to hear when I walk into a random music bar in Nashville. Give me a beer and a bar stool and let Gerald Edward do what he does best, and I can guarantee you that I’ll be having a very good night.
“You Write The Words” is an excellent singer/songwriter album. It may not be your cup of tea, but musically it’s a very sound album and this guy can actually sing very well. I’m a fan of the genre and have a lot of material to compare it to. And I think this ranks among one of my favorite new discoveries in the singer/songwriter scene. Good arrangements, very relatable and a good amount of emotion/feeling is present in the songs. There’s not really a song that I feel weird about, the songs fit together quite well and as you can probably tell, Gerald Edward has just won another fan.