To write music takes talent. To do so prolifically to a high standard is something else. An artist who has continued to impress with such frequency and high calibre is Stylusboy (aka Steve Jones). Since his debut release in 2009 (Fingerprint EP), he has continued to mesmerise listeners with his style of heartfelt indie folk. His lyrical and storytelling qualities draw you in with his warm melodies and honest lyrics, traits highlighted throughout his six EPs, two studio albums, and four live albums. As a bonus, he has covered some Christmas classics (Christmas Light EP) and well-known tracks with his album, The Duvet Collection (all shared in his own style of sound). With so much on offer, there is something within his music collection for everyone.
This year, Stylusboy released “Fourteen Days”. Its sound no longer focuses on a man and his guitar, it features more layers and depth to his music. It was a song from a project “inspired by amazing people from Coventry. Steve worked with Good Neighbours, a Coventry-based charity that supports lonely and isolated older people by linking them with volunteer befrienders. He met six of these older people to hear about their lives and listen to their personal stories. Which Jones used as the inspiration for new songs!”. He recorded them all at his studio, The Truffle Room, where he assembled its soundtrack by playing all the instruments himself. He enlisted the talents of singer-songwriter Alva Leigh for harmonies and violin skills by folk star Lauren South to help enrich his work.
It all came together to create his new and unmissable EP, Back in the Day. Each story offers something different, either with his words and how he shares them or with the soundtrack that goes with it. On top of that, every song can grab the listener’s attention. With so much on offer, picking a favourite is a difficult task. If you are still looking for reasons to listen to this EP, let’s give you three. Each one showcases the different sides to his songwriting and how he shares his tales.
First up, “Days are Made for Living”, with a title that sums up his tale. His guitar welcomes the listener with its warm acoustic sound. His story begins, “Tick tock clock / Life don’t stop / On and on / Working feet / Steady beat / On and on”. Stylusboy shares these words and those that follow in a gentle captivating manner. Each verse paints a different scene, and he uses his way with words to perfection. It stands out even more as he delivers an important message about life. He says, “Days are made for living / Don’t let them pass you by / There’s beauty in the moment you’ll find / Take each step as it comes / Look each day in the eye / There’s always beauty in the moments you’ll find”. As the song progresses, his guitar and Lauren South’s violin help to set the mood.
There is a varied audio landscape to Back in the Day. As previously mentioned, some deliver a gentle acoustic mood, while “Life Your Voice” will have you smiling and singing. There is something about this track that feels anthemic. As the chorus arrives, you feel compelled to sing along to, “Come on Joan, come on Joan, give us a song / Lift your voice and you’ll feel a little more strong / When the music’s in our soul, we can all sing along / Come on Joan, come on Joan, give us a song”. Yet again, each verse sets a different scene. This time with a sunnier feel, thanks to its uplighting soundtrack. You will find yourself tapping your foot along to the subtle beat.
‘Back in the Day’ is a beautiful and mesmerising collection that showcase the storytelling qualities of Stylusboy
Stylusboy has always had a talent for his way with words. Some of them within this release are some of his best. People have shared their tales with him, and he has respectfully moulded them to create some exceptional moments. One of them is “Waiting to Say Hello”. There is a simplicity and charm to this track. As you press play, it subtly draws you in with the gentle soundtrack. His vocals mirror the mood as he shares the opening lines, “Come in out of the rain / Nice to see you again / Kettles on my dear / Will you lend your ear to me?”. As it continues, his storytelling qualities stay in the spotlight.
As for the chorus, it sets a simple scene that highlights what makes this collection of songs stand out. Stylusboy holds the listener’s attention as he shares, “I was just waiting to say hello to you / To sit beside you and share a tale or two / The sun, it shines a little bit brighter / When I laugh and cry with you”. Lines like this can become a doorway to endless conversations and emotions. It also captures the joy of talking to someone important to your world. Feelings reflected in the closing moment, “We used to be strangers / But today I call you friend / More than good neighbours / We talk, and we put the world to rights”.
Back in the Day is a captivating collection of songs with lots to offer. There will be a moment or more that will talk to you in a personal way, enhancing your listening experience. Just set yourself some time, sit back and take in these stories by Stylusboy. It will be time well spent.