Lucy Blu - Only Just Begun
Hard to know whether to call this an extended EP ( EEP!) or a mini album, it's a seven track artifact produced by the current go to Producer for UK Country artists, ex Wandering Heart, Tim Prottey-Jones whose name cropped up on many of our favourite songs of 2019, quite a few which are captured here!
In these days of streaming and downloads it nice to see someone take a little care over their physical product - "Only Just Begun" comes as a nice glossy gatefold affair with Lucy pictured in front of a giant spotlight. It opens up there are a couple more nice pictures and a personalised typography of the track listing and credits. It all goes to make a desirable little package before we ever discuss the contents.
2019 was a highly productive year for Lucy Blu, she peppered us with a number of diverse excellent singles, as well as some memorable live performances such as at Country On The Coast at Southsea. The first 4 tracks essentially gather all of those singles in one place, "Row Your Own" dealing with those with "nothing nice to say" was an object lesson in matching a point to be made to a bouncy catchy tune, "You won't fix yourself by breaking me", it also has a delightful simply perfect guitar solo that made it so instantly likeable.
"Ready To Be Lonely" was a big ballad, that showed another side to Lucy, it was a different type of break up song, addressing the fact that there is a period of adjustment that needs to be attended to before moving on from a relationship. It came with a soulful feel in the organ sound and backing vocals, as well as a perfectly captured vocal. In contrast the faster paced "Tequila Made Me Do It" details the perils having too much Tequila, like "staying 2 hours in the bathroom making friends!". There's another cracking guitar solo in this good humoured, self deprecating song which is great fun. The final single is the title track "Only Just Begun", which started 2019 in such style, it was a truly well polished piece of pop then and a year down the line it retains everything that made it so enjoyable then.
There are 3 bonus tracks, "Worse Than Whiskey", does risk comparisons with "Tequila Made Me Do It", there are similar themes, though this track comes with a slightly heavier guitar sound. The final new song "Rock Salt & Nails" is an interesting little item, with just a guitar, banjo and a little percussion, it shows Lucy in her most Americana incarnation on the EP, and it filters through to the lyrics "Down in the hollow where the water runs cold, it was there I first listened to the lies that you told". It is not a style that many UK artists attempt, this has a delightfully authentic feel to it that shows that there are many shades of Blu!
Finally, there is a wonderfully alternate lo fi live take on "Row Your Own" from the Dixie Fields Festival, it is simply an acoustic guitar, Lucy and the sound of a passing milling crowd. What it does show though is that once you strip away Tim's marvellous production there is a real artist underneath who is perfectly able to still get across all of the sentiments of the song.