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Justin Sandercoe - Small Town Eyes

  by Anthony Middleton

published: 29 / 1 / 2010

Justin Sandercoe - Small Town Eyes
Label: Ocean Red Records
Format: CD


Original-sounding, if somewhat unfocused debut album from internet phenomenon and guitar expert, Justin Sandercoe

Anyone over the past few years who has tried to learn to play the guitar will almost certainly have come across Justin Sandercoe. A genuine internet phenomenon, his guitar instruction website is unique not only in being just about exhaustive in its content but is free to anyone. This is no small feat and is probably helping to nurture many a thousand future musicians, as well as encouraging late arrivals like myself who want to make up for lost time. Figures like 50 million views of his videos and over 24,000 visitors to his site each day, give you an idea of the success of his venture. His secret weapon is his easy-going likable personality, when he teaches you a Hendrix lick or the minor pentatonic scale, he does so with self-deprecating humour and patience. It’s not all done for altruistic need to make the world strum along. He does accept donations and is sponsored by some suppliers, but you get the sense his reward is musical rather than material. His success has given him the resources him to write and record his own album, having previously recorded as a session guitarist with the likes of Katie Melua. I was nervous about hearing this album in case it was a vanity project, although his influences, reflected in the songs he teaches you (Nirvana’s 'Polly', Blur’s 'Coffee and TV' rub shoulders with guitarist staples such as Dylan and Paul Young), bode well. Obviously the guitar work is at the forefront of the album with some fine solo and acoustic finger picking. Particularly good is the bluesy instrumental, 'From Katie’s Window'. When he does sing, Sandercoe’s voice betrays his Antipodean roots. He often apologises for his singing on his instructional videos, and stays well within a range that he operates in with ease. There is an concern for the environment in songs such as 'Forevergreen' and 'I Know?' - laudable though this is, the views could have been voiced with more subtlety. Things get more intimate on 'I Turn to Tell Her' which is claustrophobic while 'Imperfect' is again bluesy, although more upbeat. With the global following that Justin has, he will certainly make some impact with this. It is certainly technically accomplished and has enough originality to bear repeated listens. The album does flit about somewhat and perhaps to go from being a gifted teacher to an accomplished recording artist, he will have to focus and find his own voice.

Track Listing:-
1 Forevergreen
2 Love And Levity
3 From Katie's Window
4 I Turn To Tell Her
5 Cutting Out
6 I Know?
7 Imperfect
8 Into The Blue
9 Pity The Rose
10 Page 99
11 Falling Next To You
12 Waste This
13 Broken
14 The Making Of Small Town Eyes
15 Talk Through Songs

Band Links:-

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