Album Review: Craft by Paul Sikes
Paul Sikes is no newcomer to the country music scene in Nashville. This singer-songwriter was born in the city of country music and has spent his entire life in the city honing his own musical skills.
For the last several years Paul has been busy writing songs. He’s had various publishing contracts over the years and has seen his songs cut for albums by major artists like Josh Gracin, Emerson Drive, Billy Dean and others. Paul continues to write for and produce other artists, but earlier this summer he released his first full-length album.
That is the album we look at today.
Here are my song-by-song thoughts.
Craft by Paul Sikes
Overall this is a strong singer-songwriter record. It has roots in the ’70s with a flash of lounge and a flash of modern songwriter sounds of the pop and AC world. I really like the record overall. It’s something different and interesting.
1. Show You How
The first song on an album is important. There are still plenty of people out there that listen to the album as the artist intended. I think it’s even more true with independent artists like Paul Sikes. There is no radio play here. When you listen to the record you listen to it straight through. This is a good song to kick things off. It’s kind of laid back and Paul has an unexpectedly soft voice. It does have those pop elements of artists like Emerson Drive and Josh Gracin. There is no shimmer on the production, though. It’s good.
2. Swear I’m In A Small Town
The laid back groove continues on this second song. It’s really good. There is a girl that makes the guy feel like he’s spending time in a small town. Things are pretty laid back and cool in the small town life.
3. A Seed
There’s a really cool guitar or similar instrument part to kick this song off. On his bio Paul mentioned an influence of James Taylor. You can really hear it come through the more you listen to the album.
4. I Can Give You One
Things finally pick up in tempo and production. I like this one. It sounds like it could be a radio hit.
At first I wasn’t sure if the song was playing. Then after about seven seconds Paul comes in with a speaking vocal. This song is really different. I can see it playing well in the live show in the small club. You get that feeling on these songs. Paul has cut his teeth in the country clubs.
6. Tin Man
At first I thought this was going to be the song Kenny Chesney first released as a single back in 1993 or something and later on as well. It’s a different song, but it’s still good. You get that James Taylor feeling again. Somes of these songs are like lullabies for kids.
7. Train Wreck
I like when Paul rips it up in a fast paced mode. This is one of those songs. People will be on the dance floor for this one. The song is a train wreck just like the girl in the song.
8. My Epitaph
This is one of the songs Paul has been performing in promotion for the record. It’s a really good song and fits right in with the laid back feel of the entire record. Lots of James Taylor influence here.
9. Me, You, and Malibu
This is my favorite song on the record. It’s simple, laid back and really funky. I like this kind of groove. It’s a Saturday afternoon song when you’re just kicking around having a good time. It’s almost like a Sinatra lounge song from the ’60s. It makes me want to pull out my old Jamie Cullum record.
10. Sitting’ By A River
Just a good country song right here. Great vocals that come through with power and emotion. I like this one. The record gets better as you move through the songs.
11. Call It A Day
Just a little campfire song here. Playing with your friends.
12. My Home Tennessee
The last song on the record is probably just as important as the first. I almost missed it because it comes on as a hidden track at the end of the last song. It’s a classic country song feel about living in a great place. You can’t beat that sentiment.