EP Review: Her Soldier Boy - John Jenkins

Merseyside Singer Songwriter John Jenkins new EP Her Soldier Boy is set for release on April 8th. He was kind enough to send over a copy to us at Out In The Crowd. We loved it, its soothing in parts and charging in overs allowing reflection and compassion all the way through, a true showcase of the talents of John Jenkins.

Here is a track by track review:

Her Soldier Boy

The EP opens with soft strings and a balanced male and vocal harmony, John is joined by up and coming Singer Songwriter Vanessa Murray on this track. Her Soldier Boy is delicate and precise in its tone and mood. The tone of the track is one of regret and painful confession. The vocals are on point, clear and crisp but delivered in  a smooth and tender way. I enjoyed the addition of the accordion, it allows us to be transported to a time of war and adds a continental feel. As the wars have impacted on every country in Europe at one time or another its a wise addition by John Jenkins. Around 4  minutes a Santana style solo sleeks in and weaves over the gypsy blues bed of the song. The solo is beautiful and its call is responded to by an equally majestic violin solo. I enjoyed the progressions in the song and its length gives it time to breath, focusing on getting the track right and including all  the necessary elements. It is a lilting song that follows Gaelic traditions of story telling through a melodic tune, there is just the right mix of mystery and intrigue that will pull you along to discover the outcome of this brilliant song.

Playing With Fire

John Jenkins plays solo on Playing With Fire which has Country Folk elements. The waltzing thick, guitar chords give a natural sway to the song and Johns vocal is tender and delivered with delicacy. He sings honestly and with truth and you feel privileged to be hearing his wise and observant lyrics. I love the natural elements of Playing With Fire, it moves at its own pace and when the full instrumentation arrive half way through it fits perfectly. There is a warm and embracing feel about Playing With Fire, it sounds like friendship , kinship and kindness. I particularly enjoyed the precisely placed and delivered guitar solo. Upon a more attentive listen we get to see just how experienced John Jenkins is; using a warm and friendly tone with the musical instrumentation to counteract the somber nature of the lyrics, a skill that is very effective in composition. I feel Playing With Fire tackles a reluctance in letting go and regrets and it is expressed in a way that is approachable and relatable to the listener testament to Johns musical abilities. 

I Miss You

I Miss You opens with long single strums in a Minor key, a classical guitar glides over the top and intricately sets the mood for the track. John is clearly an accomplished guitarist and his knowledge of when to provide a solo or riff is key to the quality of this EP. The rhythm of I Miss You is set by the shuffle of the shaker and the sway of the guitar. John Jenkins is in confessional mood with Her Soldier Boy and I Miss You is the most candid and open. His lyrics are deeply personal and due to the vulnerability and bravery showed in revealing such emotions it  makes him all the more relatable and provides the listener a easy opportunity to connect. I Miss You is fearlessly open and clear in its motives and the instrumentation perfectly reflects this, its not over stated it gives space for the vocals to clearly sit in the song. I enjoyed the simplicity in the addition of 2 guitars and percussion.  At no point does the song feel bare or in need of more, the layers are velvet and smooth and provide the safe sound for the outpouring to continue. 

What It All Means

I love What It All Means, soothing, soulful and delightful. There is a very soft vocal harmony prevalent in the main melody and it works brilliantly, adding an Easy Listening tone to What It All Means. The guitar chords are fantastic, they flow together brilliantly from verse, pre-chorus and chorus and it welcomes you into the song fantastically. The theme of the lyrics holds various interpretations, it is written in the 3rd person, John shows his talent as a writer to tell a tale through someone else eyes and transport us listeners directly into the tale. I enjoyed the philosophical nature of What It All Means it asks important questions with a smile instead of a frown, embracing the possibilities in life and the potential benefits of questioning such matters. 

Her Soldier Boy - Instrumental

The final track of the EP is an instrumental of the first. It allows us to see the real craft that has been used by Helen Maher in her use of the Accordion and also Amy Chalmers excellent use of Violin. It is a fantastic track and its great to include it in the EP to give us a real idea of how Jon Lawton and John Jenkins put the song together and what elements were involved. 

Her Soldier Boy is a wonderful EP, I loved it from start to finish. John Jenkins has a brilliantly delicate voice that makes every listener insatiable for more. I enjoyed the how John got so many sounds and tones out of the guitar and also the accompanying accordion and violin. The guitar solos in the EP shows the array of influences John must have from classic Spanish guitar, to blues to R and B he reflects and demonstrates the wide array of genres that go into his writing. Her Soldier Boy is a wonderful EP and make sure you get a copy of it on April 8th