I’m so pleased that a dear friend of mine has just released a new album: Lessons in Life by Simon Lethem. It’s not piano-based, but I think you might like it!
Some of the best funk, soul and blues released in 2018. Simon’s funk guitar licks are superb. Some great songs, brilliant musicianship, and a dash of humour for good measure. What’s not to like… And I hear there will be a few live dates in 2019! Not to be missed.Roger Evernden
It’s a brilliant album of original songs by funk maestro Simon Lethem and his vocal collaborator Rachel Gerrard. Here are my top three favourite tracks:
This is brilliant through and through. A great start with a really strong guitar soloing, with a powerful riff that kicks in at 0.17. It’s honest, it tells a great story, and the chorus which kicks in at 0.50 has catchy lines that really hit the spot about how we often feel in a relationship. At 1.41 there is a brilliant switch – both musically and in the storyline; just the right amount of hang before the lyrics come in, and then a brilliant guitar solo over a perfect funky riff. Then at 2.52 there’s another twist as the lyric goes into deeper questions – Why don’t you think about it? Did you really love me? The solo guitar over 3.56 onwards is brilliant. And I love the rather abrupt ending – it has the feeling of “aaarrrgh” in slow motion!
Nice clavinova, nice funky riff – nice balance between Simon and Rachel in the vocals. The change that comes in at 1.20 is perfectly timed – I love the high female vocal against the bass riff, and then the clav and male voice come in (I can see the live crowd joining in here). After a powerful middle section I like the way the track simplifies at 3.36 – the contrast is wonderful. And then I love the way the guitar slips in, the percussion steps up, and the vocals come back to the beginning. Nice ending, and I listen out for the “bye” that slips in at the very end.
You just can’t go wrong with a funky opening like this! It is crying out “dance to me”, “move your feet”…. And the lyrics just add to the fun – and I’m sure there will be some great interplay between vocalists when they play this set live (there is a small tour planned for later in the year!) 0.31 brings in a magnificent twist – especially the crazy and wonderful harmonies at 0.36. The song has plenty of emotions, and the vocals bring out the uncertainty with what’s happening, whether it should be or not! 1.44 another great Lethem twist – a brilliant unison moment, all the more special because it’s so short. 2.09 ha ha; there should be more humour in songs – a wacky, bizarre interlude with all sorts of amazing astral sounds and strange comments…. Leading to the pained vocals at 3.12. Absolutely brilliant comedic funk fun. From 3.30 there is some excellent funk guitar – and then then a great throwaway echo ending – going down!