Hear The Track HereSpeaking as an Englishman I have a lot of time for people who value the beauty (and rituals) of tea drinking. I've been a tea belly (as my Mum calls it) since I was real small and although I have now outgrown that and gone on to the harder stuff (coffee), I still like a nice cup of tea from time to time. Much more to the point, here's a musician (from America as it happens) who has written a whole EP around the subject which is fine when you take into account that America now seems to be re-considering this whole Tea Party thing in a very different way (Ed: I hope this is a joke Gilmore and not a political speech!!) Esto (the musician in question is an indie folk musician who even gives you detailed instructions on how to make the tea to listen to this EP and that is why I sit with a cup of cheer before me.
Ahhhhh, that's better...
Its actually understating the case to call this an EP, it being seven tracks and over half an hour playing time; mini-album maybe? Blueberry Bedtime is the first sip of beverage on offer and sets the scene perfectly for Tea Party, the first real track. 'I drink way too much tea...' is its main refrain and you would think that this wouldn't be your cup of tea but you know what? I think it would be. Like all genre labels (indie folk being this EPs category), you can pick up totally the wrong image of the music from them, and this is one of them. Sure, it's definitely an acoustic project but the work on display here is of a time honoured singer/songwriter who always mixes genres seamlessly. For me, as a long time lover of simple, two things make it really work for me; musical vision and as perfect a performance as you can get. This EP fulfills all that and more. And...for the ladies, if you want a song that will melt your heart, Windows, a Chimney and I, has the largest and saddest looking of the bunch. It also happens to be a ballad of a high order and I love it and I ******* hate them generally on matter of principle. Fabulous songwriting, no doubt about it.
None of the tracks appear to have been top and tailed (Ed: cleaning up the intro and outro of recording noise) and - intentionally or otherwise - really adds to the effect of these tracks - especially when you listen to it as a whole. Blake Morgan (aka Esto) has a rare talent and the wherewithal to do something with it, his music is deep and nuanced, he plays and sings as if angels were perched on his shoulders and I am very, very glad to have stumbled across this together musically. While all the tracks are obviously recorded in some limited way, whats going on in them is the exact opposite. Certainly if you like the lighter side of music and acoustic singers in particular you really have to join with this party. Put it like this, there isn't one track on here (OK maybe with the exception of the first mini-track) that hasn't earned the right to be here. Vital, coherent and beautifully performed music with a warmth and softness that will warm you through a long winters night.
Absolute MUST HAVE. Drop dead gorgeous.