The key to Ivor Simpson-Kennedy’s debut EP is simplicity. An acoustic blues album, it’s basically essential that it’s as stripped down as Delta Pines is. Initially a drummer but here solo with just an acoustic guitar, SK could have made the mistake of adding too much. However, these five songs benefit from the smart move to follow the less-is-more edict.
His drumming past gives these songs a strong rhythmic bent too, thanks in part to subtle stomp accompaniment, but also the fact his deep and smoky voice is used as a rhythm instrument in itself; strong and measured, it’s metronomic in its husky delivery.
Hailing from Sydney but having obviously spent a good deal of time in the American deep south, SK’s songs are imbued with a sense of the vast emptiness of the Mississippi delta, particularly the title track which is the standout, benefitting from a slow and repetitive guitar line, hand-claps towards the end as it, and the EP as a whole, fade out. While still a novice, particularly on the songwriting side of things, this is a strong start for the 24-year-old, who will no doubt improve as he ages.
Samuel J. Fell