Rebecca Downes: Stripped Back
Recorded during lockdown this see’s West Midlands Blues sensation Rebecca Downes revisiting some of her older tracks with long term collaborator Steve Birkett providing all the instrumentation and co-producing the album.
As Lockdown impacted so many bands, with venues shut and tours cancelled, Rebecca was no different, and so as her sleeve notes state she’d be toying with the idea of revisiting some old tracks in a new style, and this gave her the perfect opportunity to do that.
Her rich soulful vocals are sublime across the record and the album opens with the stunning opener Take Me Higher, which see’s her in fine form, with a fantastic chorus and great guitar soloing from Steve, and is a perfect way to open the record.
The soulful sound of Steves guitar conjures up images of widescreen Americana, and this is music designed for smoky little blues club, as Rebeccas voice emerges from the stage, despite the remote working that produced this album, you would never know.
From the superb Blues for Us with it’s great understated backbeat and Steves guitar work being exemplorary, it allows Rebecca to give the full dynamic range of that voice across the album, from low and slow to powerful at the drop of a hat, she truly is a versatile and talented performer.
The piano driven Hurts with some sublime Hammond organ is a musical tour de force and Downes versatile vocals really shine here, and this is another slice of contemporary blues that runs through this album like Blackpool through a stick of rock.
Meanwhile Believe has a fantastic sound, with some superbly gritty guitar and some some amazing vocals from Downes again, and some fantastic lyrics.
Art is all about creating something good out of adversity and whilst it’s a struggle for artists like Downes not being able to tour, this record is chock full of strong contemporary blues songs and see’s Downes revisiting her previous songs from a fresh perspective and is really great album that highlights what a great performer she is.
Rebecca Downes deserves to be a household name, and this album is one that you’ll keep returning to, time and again.