Summerfield reaches Waitrose quality
At some stage in our lives most of us reach a point where you stop trying so hard; when you realise that feelings don’t have to be transient and rebuilt and relearned every day. You become comfortable with your place in the world, you’ve reconciled your ledgers, and you balance. This leads to relaxation and confidence. It’s a kind of ‘accept me as I am’ attitude, for Summerfield it’s a stretching out.
His music has become what it is; no real compromises, it reveals, opens, ‘Where the Water Folds’ introduces itself slowly with acoustic guitar, hints of melody growing maturing. Steel guitar lazy as an indolent breeze, later a flute reinforces the sweet ooze of the song, vocals and backing vocals wrapping around each other; it proceeds at its own pace drawing me in and I’m more than happy to immerse myself.
If you want a few reference points ‘Ben Jones’ is Dawes like and ‘Nervous Dancer’ could be mistaken for M. Ward, and ‘People Talk’ if you squint with your ears could be mistaken for Iron & Wine. Summerfield though, is now his own man; songs like ‘Noel’s House’ show off his skills, this time with electricity, the throb of bass and drums is topped with layers of harmony vocals, the melody builds and reveals itself steadily; the texture thickens, electric guitar distorts just keeping hold of the little finger of the melody. Then there’s ‘Little Steps’ which starts with the drone of machine noise which is supplanted with electric guitar sculpting out the space for the melody adding sweetness under the bell jar of the drone. The harmony and the drone perfect counterpoints for each other, the song simmers along coming to the boil in a soup of guitars, quietly and confidently marking out its place.
With this record Summerfield has, for me, reached a new level, which he sustains throughout. Older releases like ‘Paint the Road’ were muted with a lack of self-confidence. There were bursts of inspiration, now it is sustained. He doesn’t resort to any flimsy, flashy or easy moves, this is probably how the music has always sounded in his head, only now he has the skill and belief to be able to share it.