Spalding singer-songwriter Meg McPartlin has released her debut album, Confidence
Could south Lincolnshire be about to see its next musical trailblazer after West Pinchbeck folk favourite Miranda Sykes and Boston-born, Grantham-raised Americana favourite (Georgina) Callaghan?
Spalding acoustic singer Meg McPartlin has so far built her fanbase with performances at the Spalding Music Festival, Music in the Market Place and Celebrate Surfleet and a host of pubs in the area.
But McPartlin has finally graduated from her Youth Takeover days at South Holland Centre after releasing her debut album, Confidence.
In a music market already swollen with young "wannabe" pop stars, Confidence showcases the one thing that will stand McPartlin in good stead more than anything else, her strong, fearless and unrestrained vocals.
However, for the few seconds of opening track Taking the Road, a thought emerges that Confidence might be a more disciplined, less spontaneous version of bluegrass and folk-inspired singer who has entertained regulars at Spalding venues like The Punchbowl, Mulberry's Bar and even Spalding Rugby Club.
But as soon as the radiant instrumental support for McPartlin arrives, backing vocalist, guitarist and the album's producer, Tom Wright, bass guitarist Philip Mann, percussionist James Pepper and drummer Mikey Ciancio, Confidence sees its singer catapulted to a higher level.
The spirit of Elvis Presley runs right through the album, most notably on the tracks Mama Watch Me Dance and I Hate You But I Love You, while Nashville Blues draws on the examples set by Dolly Parton, Tammy Wynette and Emmylou Harris.
McPartlin also reveals other, more contemporary influences on tracks, such as Good Life and You, On Board, 1940s' Dancer and closing track You.
Reminders of the 1980s and the music of Alison Moyet, Hazel O'Connor and Kim Wilde come through loud and clear as McPartlin temporarily shelves her bluegrass vocals and sings from her Spalding heart.
Where McPartlin shines best is on the tracks that feature a variety of musical genres, bluegrass, jazz, roots and soul, including Not Sorry, On Board, Try Again and Save Your Goodbyes, the latter song having a sound not too different to late sixties Beatles' music.
If Confidence is meant to be Meg McPartlin's introduction to a wider audience, then it represents a real coming of age - with the promise of even more exciting things ahead.
. Confidence is available on iTunes (http://itunes.apple.com/album/id1469139150?ls=1&app=itunes), Apple Music (http://itunes.apple.com/album/id/1469139150), Spotify (https://open.spotify.com/album/27QWAJbCFqrrikhKBjjxVy),Amazon music unlimited or go to https://www.megmcpartlin.com/
Review by Winston Brown
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