It's been a couple of years since we last year from troubadour Ferraby Lionheard with his fantastic debut album Catch The Brass Ring and self-titled EP. I really enjoyed both efforts, and such songs as Small Planet, Vermont Avenue, Before We're Dead and Pure Imagination regularly come up on my playlists at home. Lionheart brought together a rich, interesting and diverse sound with his songs, and in the time since his first album, I've been eagerly awaiting for the next album.
That has come in the form of The Jack of Hearts, and it's a bit of a different album than I initially expected. The Jack of Hearts is a superb album one that demonstrates that Lionheart's voice, sound and songwriting has improved since the last outing, and this album is his best work yet. When it arrived a couple of weeks ago, I put it into the CD player and it's been playing since.
The song that caught my ears first was Harry & Bess, the third track on the album, with an excited beat and groove, coupled with a fantastic guitar backing everything up. There's something between the lyrics and instruments that makes me really want to move, and the swing feel with this song is all but irresistible. Other tracks on the album carry with them a diverse sound and feel as well, from Arkansas to Sweet Tanzini to Dear Corinne. Each song really has their own stories, and like the country singers that clearly influenced this album, there's equal emphasis on the lyrics and storytelling throughout the album.
What makes this album so good is that there's a lot that falls into place here - the songwriting, the music, vocals, instrumentation and packaging (this, for me, is important as well, and Jack of Hearts nailed the cover this time). Indie-singer/songwriters have a difficult time really standing out in the internet age, with so much variety, but Lionheart manages to do so with a unique, interesting sound and image. The Jack of Hearts confirms that he's onto something good here, continuing his successes with the first album, and will hopefully continue to do so in the near future.