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  • Chris Farlie

Neeve Zahra ft Ben Walker - Rub A Little Dirt On It

When we labelled Neeve Zahra's "Country Kind Of Love", one of the best ever UK debut EP's we were not kidding. It delivered a level of songwriting skills that belied her age and had she done nothing else she would always have that. As it happens her next single was a shift in style that gave us a little pop classic in "Step Right Over" and with her latest release "Rub A Little Dirt On It" a duet featuring Ben Walker, she has not only switched styles once more but also blown away any expectations or preconceived ideas that anyone may have of her.

Even before a note is played there is something about that title, that immediately evokes a reaction, it takes you back to being a child or maybe in later life reminds you of giving that sage advice to a child - a cure all that will take any pain away.

The single itself is as welcoming as warm fire on a cold frosty day, it invites you in and wraps itself around you - with its beauty and simplicity. Two acoustic guitars and initially the faintest of percussion prepare the way for the arrival of a pair of voices in perfect harmony.

"We've been here before - sailed these oceans, crumbled to the floor

And I can't believe, that I can be happy, without you, with me"

The written word cannot convey the way in which Neeve clings to the "I" and elongates it over a few seconds,or do justice to the rhythm that comes with the way that the rest of the second line is delivered.

The chorus has a delightful charm about it, the lyrics paint the relationship as a fragile beauty that seems a little naive yet that unbridled optimism is so sweet. It heralds the arrival of a subtle piano perfectly picking just the required notes and nothing else while the gradual stepping up of percussion is also done with a sympathetic subtlety.

"So rub a little dirt on it - fix it up brand new

I never want to draw the line with you

Never felt that honest - when it comes to you

It's true - It's always me and you"

It is one of those songs that you can quite easily imagine would have nestled nicely in the opening series of "Nashville" , where most of the series best tunes lay.

That fragility we mentioned earlier is touched on by Neeve as she ponders just how delicate the bubble she is living in is and the implications of what could happen.

"Save some time for me save me from this thing called misery

And I feel afraid, we might lose this, everything will change"

Further visits to the chorus only enhance what a marvellous little single this is - it is already a contender for being on the list of the best singles of the year and we're barely into January, it is that perfect. It has certainly set an early benchmark of the quality we are hoping to see across the board in 2024

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