Folk rock artist Leo Sawikin’s new album, Row Me Away, is a look into the world around us from the point of view of an old soul in a young body. Feeling simultaneously old and new, familiar and strange, the songs are full of angst and a longing for something more and this is found nowhere better than the lead song ‘Born Too Late’.  With an energy that pervades the track with huge danceability, Leo encapsulates the feeling of being born in the wrong time with a sound coming straight from the rockier side of folk rock.

From the busyness of ‘Born Too Late’ comes the title track, a more gentle exploration of looking for something new in an old and tired world, before moving into the hypnotic, more experimental sound of ‘Golden Days‘.  Through the almost melancholic melody and lyrics, Leo examines the tricky to avoid habit of always looking forward and not appreciating the present – we only seem to know we’re living in the golden days when we look back and “long for the golden days”.

The strongest track for me is ‘You Love Too Much‘, a heartfelt, country influenced song about loving yourself before others.  The lyrics are tender and on point:
‘I can’t believe the way you treat yourself, that’s no way to love someone else’
You may say that you can never love too much, but the message of the song is that you then lose part of yourself somewhere along the line which leaves nothing for anyone. In a similar vein musically, the Americana heartbreak of ‘Tell Me There’s An Answer‘ asks for a solution to the age old problem of love gone wrong, whilst the piano led ballad of ‘Wasting My Whole Life‘ compares the haves and have nots and asking where in the world is the compassion.
Leo’s advice for aspiring musicians looks at the collaborative world of music as a whole:
“Learn from people who are experts at the craft aspect of music. My journey as a musician has been about developing my craft to help me translate the music I’ve heard in my head since I was a kid. Be patient with yourself and always be open to constructive criticism from people who have more experience than you. The more you learn, the more you will realize that you can never know everything. Learn other people’s songs! Try to learn songs that challenge you in different ways. One of the best things I ever did for myself as a musician was learning how to play songs by Joni Mitchell and Brian Wilson. I had to really push myself to wrap my head around the types of chords they were using, how and why they worked with each other. As a writer this gives me the ability to use that type of harmonic movement if a song calls for it. The same goes for any of the other skills in music.
Don’t expect overnight success! In this day and age, there is such a ridiculous amount of information being thrown at people and attention spans are shorter than they have ever been. Also keep in mind a song is like a living thing with a lifespan, they grow up when they’re ready to. The older a song is, the less subjective it becomes both to ourselves and to the world. If you make something that is truly great, it will become more apparent to people as time goes by. All you can do in the meantime is continue to develop your craft and try to enjoy life.”

Row Me Away is released on 22 October on Riverine Music. Get your copy here.

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