Since starting in early 2018 I have gained pleasure from reviewing music by some of my favourite artists, by passing on my enthusiasm for the likes of Fish and Richard Thompson, and for waxing lyrical about some of the great albums I’ve enjoyed in nearly 40 years of being a music fan. What, however, has been a greater surprise to me, and something which has made this little project so worthwhile, is finding out about new music. About making discoveries of little gems of brilliant music. By realising that out there are loads of fantastic performers and songwriters. Performers who are able to make me, as a humble reviewer, feel for a small moment in time like John Peel when a CD is posted through the door or a promo album is shared via email to me.

This week has seen a whole raft of new releases hit my inbox, one of which is the debut album from Kent’s emerging talent, Steve Hewitt. Bigger Than Words is, as it’s title suggests, a big swathe of influences all wrapped up in 10 songs of brutal, but warm, honesty. Hewitt brings a unique voice to songs that take aim at hypocrites, that detail loss and heartbreak and which gives voice to truths and wisdom. All backed by luscious melodies that pull emotions subtlety from the listener; the ability to make that listener feel full force of their subconscious in the space of a few bars is just wonderful.

Perhaps the real skill in this album is the way it has been put together. There are songs on Bigger Than Words that understand the need for simplicity; Hewitt’s voice accompanied by acoustic guitar gives the songs a knowing awareness of their subject matter that gives a gravitas that is so very powerful. But then songs such as Healing and Hurt, with it’s stunning string accompaniment, invoke the beautiful arrangements of Nick Drake’s wonderful Five Leaves Left to create shade and light through out allowing this album to ebb and flow supremely.

Bigger Than Words entered my world quietly, unobtrusively and unexpectedly, but has enrichened my musical enjoyment immeasurably. Hewitt’s song writing and performing is honest, true and clever, all aspects that mark out my favourite singer songwriters. Supported by exceptional players, sympathetic production and engineering Steve Hewitt has created a little gem of an album that deserves to be widely heard and enjoyed by music fans everywhere.

Bigger Than Words (IGN255, Engineer Records) will be available on all digital platforms from 3rd June 2019 and on CD format from 17th June 2019.

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