2021 saw the release of “Seafront”, the debut single by Philip Jonathan. The single showcased a songwriter whose captivating soundtrack was as impressive as his storytelling, his style of folk having a vast feel to it. His way with words and the music he creates has a cinematic atmosphere, just listen to the latter part of the song when he delivers the lines, “For there’s no point holding to silence when it can’t take you home / And there’s no point looking for something that’s leaving you lost / For the same sun shines on the water, shines on the shore / And the same son shines on you daughter, making you whole”.
With a stunning debut, he continued the momentum to release his first EP, Pluma. It featured a collection of songs “from deep, personal meditations on the most raw and vulnerable moments of life. A reflection on the questions that rise to the surface, and a relentless hunt for the beauty that can be found within”. His open style of songwriting produced a beautiful release. Each one offers something different. But due to the high calibre of his work, choosing a favourite is a challenge. Personal favourites include “Seafront” and the stunning “Before the Dawn”.
Since then, he has been writing new music for an EP, due out later this year. As a taste of what to expect, he is releasing the single “Headlights”. The story behind it is interesting. He says, “A couple of friends and I run an arts-based community engagement activity at a local market called ‘Poems for a Pound’. People give us £1 and a story, and we write a poem for them on an old typewriter. I talked with a man in his mid-50s who described being at a real crossroads in life. He described being torn between the safety of a predictable road and the yearning inside him that there must be something more than this. I wrote a poem for him that resonated deeply with me too – that night, I wrote this song based on the words of the poem”.
‘Headlights’ is another outstanding storytelling experience by Philip Jonathan. Along with a soundtrack that is as captivating as his words.
As “Headlights” begins, Jonathan’s acoustic guitar greets the listener. It creates a soft mood that sets the stage for his opening lines, “Midnight road / I pass beneath / Yellow glow / And shadows deep”. Like the music, the delivery of these words creates a captivating atmosphere. As the song progresses, Alicia Barwick uses her vocal talents to add additional depth to this beautiful soundtrack. However, things change as he delivers, “And I can’t find my melody / I can’t find my melody”. Jonny Douglas (drums) and Paul Worthington (bass) use their talents to intensify the mood as Jonathan’swords pack a punch.
Afterwards, the ebb and flow of the soundtrack continues. The various layers of instruments (including a violin later in the track) add a range of emotions that give the lyrics more of an impact. Also, it helps to break up the song as there is no chorus due to its influence from a poem. These words are brought to life thanks to the partnership of Jonathan and Barwick. Together, they create outstanding moments, as heard in the delivery of “I will go into the wild / I will go into the night / I will look for the man by the fire”. But, there are times when he steals the spotlight when he goes solo. A quality highlighted by the flawless delivery of “And I, I can’t think / I can’t speak”.
The emotional tone as “Headlights” reaches the final moments is stunning. It helps to create a memorable finish with the lines, “From the holes I see / You’re calling my name / Waiting to be found”. After the final words, the story comes to an end. As it does, it leaves you wanting more, a compliment to the calibre of the songwriting. “Headlights” is another outstanding track by Philip Jonathan. It is the perfect choice to show what to expect from his upcoming EP. No doubt, like his debut release, it will be another captivating collection of songs not to be missed.