(11 March 2003) The debut recording by British singer / songwriter Sam Holmes is a self-produced three-track EP. The material was recorded, mixed and engineered by John Vickers and Jeff Spencer at Hot Pot Studios in Cheltenham, Gloucester (UK).
Written by Holmes, the track "Charlie" features Sam's whispy and evocative folk-style vocals sung over her light acoustic guitar accompaniment. She is joined by John Vickers on bass, Jeff Spencer on guitar and Matt Jones on drums. Backing harmony layers and acoustic guitar both add a lovely texture to this opening number.
Two traditional tunes complete the EP with Sam Holmes' own arrangements. The first of these is entitled "The Drowned Lover." Supported by John Vickers on keyboard, mandolin and fiddle and Matt Jones on drums, Sam also provides acoustic guitar to the arrangement. A heartfelt ballad that explores further reaches of her vocal range and emotions, the harmony vocals work delightfully with the gentle arrangements. The fiddle solo during the instrumental bridge is well played.
"Polly Oliver" concludes the EP. Sam does all of the vocal and guitar work and the track serves to illustrate the artist's tremendous virtuousity. We especially enjoyed the way the vocals were mixed in this tune. The effects provided just enough texture to really make the layers shine. Sam's crystalline vocal texture is most evident in these two new arrangements of traditional tunes.
If this short EP is any indication, we can expect further great things from Sam Holmes. Stay tuned to Musical Discoveries for further reviews of material by this Cheltenham, Gloucester artist. The material is worth a journey and is a very nice listen!