Steve Grand's "sophomore" album Not The End of Me...
Waited a little while to get my hands on this one - okay, I’ll ‘fess-up, I missed the release date and then had to wait a while for my customary signed copy as Steve was out on tour.
So after something like a 3 year wait for the (often tricky) sophomore album what have we got then? Well, certainly a different beast for the ebullient (dare I say “coming out”) All American Boy. This is a more mature and reflective album; as the cover suggests, darker, though not Southern Gothic dark. In all, it’s a very honest statement by Steve that despite the success and sudden fame of being catapulted from “local” to national celebrity, all in the garden has not been as rosy as may have been expected. It would seem that it’s strained a deep relationship to breaking point, drinking and teetering on self-loathing and an overall feeling of loneliness.
However, before you stick your head in the oven, there is hope in this album as well as defiance and the determination to turn things back around, as the title track Not The End of Me tells; flipping a finger (or sticking 2 fingers up - depending which side of the Atlantic you’re on) at the mistakes of the past. For me, the other two stand-out tracks are the beautiful Anti-hero and Good To See You; I also really like Don’t Let The Light In, but the bonus acoustic piano take.
Not that there are any filler tracks, lead-off single Walking has a great bounce to it, belying it’s “break-up” subject matter. Ain’t it Something has a light reggae motif running under it as a break from the Country Steve’s best known for. Wait around though and then, You or The Music sees the Country roots crashing back in, giving the album a great lift.
If I had one “niggle” about the album, on the more “pop” numbers, Steve’s vocals sound a little too close to Will Young; no fault in that, just a case of personal preferences. However this is a bold album as it honestly shows what a great philosopher once said - “it’s a big leap from frayed cuffs to frayed nerves”, that rewards may come a cost, which has been Steve’s journey; so far….
Good To See You - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKaWr8rTt3E
Anti-hero - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vU93vellhz8
All those who believe in psychokenesis raise my hand........