Quick Hitters:: Jon Southworth Human Cry

Stagnant is certainly not a word that can be applied to UK born, Montreal based singer, John Southworth. He’s been writing songs for decades, constantly shifting his sound and forcing himself to move farther and farther away from his comfort zone. From avant guard poetic pop to jazz - all backed by theatrical performances and new identities - Southworth refuses to sacrifice vision for sales or stability.


Last year, he and his band dove headlong into the sonic goulash that was Mama Tevatron; a record that jumped from electro-pop to AM radio nuggets like a child’s carefree game of hopscotch. It was quite obvious that John was unconcerned with how it would be received and honestly, that’s the beauty of listening to Southworth. You have no idea where the disc will take you or what styles will be revealed, but the voice is always unmistakeably John’s, as is the end vision.


His latest effort, Human Cry, however, is remarkably straightforward and that directness helps the songs hit harder. With the support of the The South Seas, Southworth rolls through twelve laid back, perfectly polished, piano/guitar gems that could have been unearthed from a time capsule. From the opening moments of “You Led Me To Believe”, John triggers the listener’s emotions by offering an unclouded view to his heart, but more importantly, a chance for us to relate to his words as we look inside ourselves. Understated harmonies and bass thicken up the fragile, beautiful compositions when needed and subtle shifts in tempo (“Day of the Dead”, “Human Cry”) help push the record forward, but for the most part this record lets John sing over open arrangements, giving the listener the space to roam.


Much like the great sportswriters of the past (that are missing from today’s coverage that relies on pop culture jokes and brash, braggadocios claims to lure us in), Southworth is quite willing to let his songs speak for themselves. He refuses to use magic or fanfare to deliver his poetry, opting instead for a quiet confidence in his work. That may be a dated character trait lost on many, but it’s refreshing and something from which more artists could certainly benefit.

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WEB:: http://www.johnsouthworth.ca/




This entry was posted on Friday, November 19th, 2010 at 10:29 am and is filed under Canada, Music, Quick Hitters, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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