Hampshire based singer songwriter Charlie Smith has taken the process of making music with just a guitar right back to basics, recording an eight track album on tape. Being in lockdown at the time, you might say this was making the best use of the equipment available. However, there’s something about his sound that works well with the retro music making – it’s raw, emotive and personal.
Charlie recorded and released I Just want to Sleep in 2021, wanting to take a deep and thoughtful look at sleep insomnia. Tackling such themes as longing and suicide, leading to acceptance, the album ranges from intimate acoustic songs to full-blown guitar driven music.
Charlie says that he wanted to make this album to “tell another story about fatal sleep insomnia, but I also wanted to make it a self-reflective experience for myself. Lyrically and creatively that was the aim.”
The stand out track is ‘I’ve Got the Method, I’ve Got the Means‘, a gentle song that starts out bleak and works through to “feeling so good to breathe the air” in a lyrically melodically way.
There are some beautiful songs on this album and there is no doubt it is raw but that simplicity is also where the beauty lies. Reading Charlies’ blog about his old school music recording process, it’s plain that we are listening to what amounts to a live recording and that is super exciting as a listener. Live gigs are where the magic happens and to hear this process happening on an album is all the more thrilling.
Fittingly, Charlie’s advice is on point about what is and isn’t possible as a musicians:
“People might say it’s impossible. People might say you can’t do it, but they’re not you. If you ask someone who doesn’t exercise to run a marathon they can’t do it. If you ask a runner to run a marathon they can do it. What seems impossible to other people isn’t for you. As long as you practise and stay dedicated.”
I Just Want to Sleep was released in March 2021. Get your copy here.
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