In a week where we as a nation and indeed the world over were reeling from the shock of David Bowies unexpected demise it seems eerily coincidental that I should be given a selection of songs to review that are more attune to the music the ‘star man’ that was David Bowie rather than the dark and heavy bass of the Grime and Hip hop scene where I comfortably lurk.
In the week of David Bowie’s passing I found myself temporarily drifting from the bass (I shall return) like an astronaut set adrift from their space ship and crew – think George Clooney in ‘Gravity’, but Just as it seems like the astronaut is going to drift to the point of no return they see reach out one last time and are rescued by a crew member or a piece of rope or in my case; rescued by a piece of rock and that piece of rock may as well be space rock as David Bowie was a rock star who was constantly termed other worldly and alien like due to his constant Avant garde incarnations. David Bowie’s passing has reawakened my respect for rock music and its grass roots roughness and edge after all rock is raps’ rebellious cousin and they’ve both egged each other on over the years to rip up the rule book and upset the establishment.
By the time I sat down with Seaton Delaval resident, Aaron Potter’s debut album ‘Coffee, ciggs, pens and paper’ I was definitely ready to take in some back to basics ‘one man and his guitar music’ and put the bass to bed for a nap. Aaron’s album is a simplistic project but by no means basic, it’s stripped back, striking and emotive, it’s music to feel to and relate to, it’s music to toast marshmallows round the campfire to if you’re unlike me who squirms at the thought of waking up to a sparrow pecking literal holes in my head and worms sliding down the opening of my tent then this is that album you’d take with you camping (glamping for me thank you very much!) and zone out to the soothing vocals of Aaron’s voice and the mellow tone of the guitar.
Aaron opens with a tale about a ‘Free wheelin’ girl from his home town near Newcastle, she’s carefree and fun to be around but leaves the object of her affections at the time baffled when she exits and presumably moves on to the next one! Aaron’s vocal is sincere and slightly wistful as he recounts the story and a mean harmonica is introduced mid-section *grabs tracing paper and wraps it round comb so I too can join in with my homemade ‘harmonica’*
The tempo is upped slightly on “Friday Night Fight” a situation we’ve all been in, witnessed or got caught in the middle of! The song opens with the lyrics “Glazed eyes and a sense of solitude she’s on her phone but she’s not being rude” which transports you straight to the audience in a pub who witness a Friday night fight between a couple which gets physical when a stiletto heel gets launched across the pub. The song has a feel good singalong chorus “Woah-oh-oh their drinks are gliding, woah-oh-oh her fists are flying, woah-oh-oh his face is in the way” the whole thing is hilarious and brings back memories of scenes you see on Friday nights out. A great touch on the songs outro is Aaron stating “Fuckin Friday nights” as though he himself can’t believe the scenes he’s witnessed.
“Something about Something” was a pleasant surprise to find on an album which is guitar led, this is the reggae lite feel good gem peeping out from amongst the rock(s) at the beach, speaking of the beach you could almost shake the sand off this song which conjures up the image of chasing a loved one around and scooping them up to sling them in the sea for a laugh. Aaron plants the castle firmly in the sand with the gorgeous lyric “Girl you’re a diamond on a beach of sand, girl you’re an island and I’m seeking land” The song is a bonafide hit and has already earned a spot on BBC radio Newcastle’s playlist.
‘Go on Out’ is sung with such heartfelt honesty and vulnerability by Aaron that you can’t help but ‘awwwww’ your way through the sincerity of it all. It’s honest, yet gentle and sees Aaron in self-depreciation mode as he expresses to a possible date that he’d love to take her out with his last £15 so he can see her smile. The female vocalist adds hymn like hums throughout and adds depth to an already stunning performance by Aaron.
If the former track didn’t have you in your feelings ‘Hard Done By’ is guaranteed to have you sinking into your feelings and vowing to seek revenge kill bill style on Aaron’s behalf on the selfish witch who hurt him (For all intent and purposes lets just pretend she’s not imaginary to justify our dislike towards her) Aaron sings in a dejected and hurt tone of a breakup with his girl which he did not initiate but somehow gets blamed for the unravelling of the relationship because the girl sees him as ‘weak’ and therefore it’s easier for her to blame him. As Aaron confesses “Did you not know I saw you with a man the other week” a violin swells in the back ground along with the lump in your throat. The xylophone on the track only serves to punctuate the delicacy and state of vulnerability we feel when we go through a break up. It’s gut-wrenching but beautiful and definitely Aaron’s most emotional moment.
‘Coffee, ciggs, pens and paper’ is a cheeky lil effort with humour heart and honesty and makes a great showcase for Aaron’s singing and song writing abilities. Other tracks on the album include – “Shed a tear”, “Love like you” and “White lightening” the album is available for purchase on 05th February and you can download your copy here –