I know that on my blog I help spread the word of some amazing musicians, but every now and again I get over excited when I want to tell you about some of my personal favourites. This post is one of them, I want to tell you about an amazing artist called Neil Cribbs. I first heard the track “To the Left” while listening to New Driven Radio and within the first 5 seconds I knew this was something special. Sometimes you hear a song and you just know it’s that good, this was one of those times.
Neil Cribbs style of music is a bluesy Americana that wears it’s soul on it’s sleeve. His style is definitely his own and I asked him who has influenced this sound, he replied:
‘I've drawn influences from MANY different areas. My parents were both music educators when I was growing up so, alongside violin and piano lessons, I listened to Rachmaninoff, Liszt, Stravinsky, and many other instrument driven composers. Central influences picked up along the way are people like John Lennon, Peter Gabriel, Woody Guthrie, Cat Stevens, Taj Mahal and the list goes on and on from Nine Inch Nails to Chick Corea. Probably my most influential writers, lyrically are Richard Buckner and Vic Chesnutt. I think I fell in love with them as lyricists on the most obvious front as they use amazing symbolism and poetic wordsmithing but on a different observation I enjoy their use of syllabic rhythm. More recent influences are upcoming musicians like Allen Stone, Brett Dennen and Stokeswood.’
Neil’s first release was the full length 2009 album “Marionette” and this showcased his great talent for the world to hear. I love how the album has a back to basics feel, just a guy and his guitar. From the start, the gentle strumming and gentle vocals of the track “Mollie” sets the feel of the album. Neil has a talent of telling some wonderful stories in his songs and he tells them in such a soothing way. I like it when his vocals hit a more emotional tone, he is one of those singers that you feel what he is saying with his voice (check out his track ‘Corner of Me’).
This is a flawless album as there is not a single track that I want to skip, so choosing my favourites has been difficult. ‘Wonderful Blunder’ and ‘Last Train’ are two amazing tracks that are highlights of the album. I spoke earlier of the track ‘Corner of Me’ which is in my favourite as I love the passion in Neil’s voice in the later part of the track which shows he sings with soul.
Two years later, Neil returned with 2011 EP called “Windshield”. This EP was made thanks to his fans who supported him using a fan fundraising site (love to see fan power in action). This album had a different feel to “Marionette” but it still is to the high standard I would expect from this artist. I asked Neil “I noticed that after the album Marionette that your sound seem to change. Was this a change done on purpose or did it just happen that way?”, he replied:
“Marionette was my first. I had about $600 and my guitar and went up to Nashville to visit a friend who's band is on a Christian branch off of Sony, a band called Building 429. He had just begun to set up a home studio and invited me in and said he could record the whole thing for me with whatever I could spare. I slept in his children's playroom for 3 days and we made Marionette. It was a stripped down creation of 11 songs that I had been carrying with me for a while. As I began to tour more and play out more I could see different styles and forms that listeners were catching on to so my writing style began to change.”
‘Windshield’ EP still has that great Americana sound but this time it has a little more attitude. The EP kicks in with the bluesy folk foot stomping track ‘Blues Baby Kicks’, this is the type of sound I could listen to him sing all day. He has not lost any of the magic from his original album, in fact he’s even better!!! This EP has more variety of sounds and it feels that Neil has been able to expand his musical horizons. My favourite track off the EP ‘Provider’ demonstrates this with it’s emotional filled atmospheric song which is aided by an orchestra. The lyrics have a more simple feel but together with his tender tone and music it delivers something really special. It may sound different to the rest of the EP but it NEEDS to be in as it shows that this is an artist that is not afraid to get creative with his music. This is the kind of musician that I respect as they can always surprise you when they release new tracks.
You are probably reading this and thinking “I get the point, you are a fan of Mr Cribb’s” but if fans can’t express there support for music then what’s the point of being a fan? As you can guess from the title that there will be another part due soon and you would be correct. So much more from Neil and his music in Part 2 so stay tuned. Until then check out Neil on the below sites and show your support.