Self-titled album ‘Sunjay’ from Sunjay Brayne - completely engaging, highly listenable(September 11, 2014)
Spend long enough writing about folk and acoustic music in all their various guises and it gets harder to find something that makes you sit up and take notice. That’s exactly what happened when I first heard Sunjay Brayne. He has a guitar style that’s distinct and stirring, a voice that gets inside the songs to express all that should be there, and involves a mix of influences that blend folk, blues, country and even jazz. His album ‘One Night Only’ cut a course that set the passage for this follow-up the self-titled ‘Sunjay’, part and parcel of his ‘On The Road Tour’.
A natural gift for expression allows Sunjay to work his magic on sensitive interpretations of such treasures as ‘Drop Down Mama’ by Sleepy John Estes or May McCaslin’s emotive ‘Going Down The Road’ and the iconic ‘No Regrets’ by Tom Rush. A lesser musician might have faltered, not this one. Then again, it takes a certain courage and self-belief to take a fresh look at classic songs from classic albums. That can be a journey fraught with potential problems, and many a musician has gone aground trying to navigate the voyage. No problems here either, guitar and voice grasp and reveal the essence of each song – from Mark Knopfler’s detailed narrative ‘Sailing To Philadelphia’ about English surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon who established the Mason-Dixon line, to the personal depths of ‘You Can Close Your Eyes’ by James Taylor from the landmark 1971 album Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon.
'Sunjay' features the talents of Sunjay Brayne (vocals, guitar) Buzby Bywater (double bass) Charlie Barker (backing vocals) Dan Owen (harmonica) Dan Walsh (banjo) Eddy Morton (harmonica, mandolin, organ, percussion, backing vocals) Liam Genockey (drums) Katriona Gilmore (fiddle, backing vocals) Lee Southall (harmonica) and Sarah Smout (cello, backing vocals).
Completely engaging, highly listenable and a fine example of an artist giving of his best, ‘Sunjay’ is a must for anyone. Find album and artist here: www.sunjay.tv
Reviewer: Tim Carroll