Sing A Song For Me
Lee Everton
Rootdown - Soulfood Music
October 23, 2009

Track list
  1. Don't Make It Too Hard
  2. A Little Light
  3. If Not For You
  4. I Want To Hold On
  5. Cry For Me
  6. I Got To Keep On Moving
  7. Anywhere I Lay My Head
  8. You've Still Got A Hold On Me
  9. I Need You Tonight
  10. Count On Me
  11. Lullaby
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
Zürich, Switzerland based Lee Everton is the first English language artist who has been added to Rootdown Records' artist roster that already contained artists like Nosliw, Mono & Nikitaman, Nattyflo and Maxim. Lee Everton instead of using (Rootdown Records' co-founder and in house producer Thilo 'Teka' Jacks') established roots (or dancehall) riddims creates his own riddim style, the 'Slingstyle Riddim'. This 'Slingstyle' approach is the foundation for the backing of his singer-songwriter reggae, leaving lots of space once more for his beautiful melodies and intense lyrics on this extremely impressive follow up to his debut album "Inner Exile". From his early teenage days Lee Everton has been fascinated by black music, searching for the right song and the perfect sound he traveled to Jamaica when he was 18 to spend a year at the Jamaican School of Music in Kingston.

The sessions with musicians from all over the Caribbean had a lasting impact on him. Working later at the Quad Recording Studios in NYC he assisted sessions with Alicia Keys, Kanye West and Celia Cruz. Only a couple of years ago he attended a workshop for songwriters in Los Angeles where he met successful songwriter Penny Framstad who offered him to coach him on two of his songs, a chance he took gladly. Turning point in his life however was a car accident that he survived mainly uninjured but which made him more reflective and sensitive. With all these experiences under his belt he started experimenting with new riddims trying to create a new own sound that he new found in his 'Slingstyle' approach that was prominently featured on his cricically acclaimed debut album two years ago "Inner Exile" and again now on this sophomore album "Sing A Song For Me".

This second album opens with the lead off single and despite my for regular readers of my reviews well-known dislike of rocking guitars, for some reason it seems to work on this song in which Lee Everton proclaims that he wants to stay with his girl, but warns her "Don't Make It Too Hard". What really strikes me is that (We'll get to that later) despite all the comparisons that have been made about Lee Everton's singing, never has Mark Knopfler been mentioned yet, but on several songs of this album Lee's delivery clearly resembles it. Beautiful horn and organ riffs and stabs (and of course Lee's own guitar) truly embellish the wonderful "A Little Light", followed by a brilliant take on Bob Dylan's "If Not For You" that is a true gem. Then Lee sings the beautiful acoustic guitar sailor's ballad "I Want To Hold On" that is a truly heartfelt tearjerker, before he rides the rootsy reggae riddim backing his farewell to the former lover that he doesn't need no more "Cry For Me" and the very soulful beats of his rebellious song "I Got To Keep On Moving".

Bob Dylan isn't the only great songwriter that gets covered on this album, as Lee Everton also delivers a very nice version of Tom Waits' "Anywhere I Lay My Head", followed by the magnificent love-song "You Still Got A Hold On Me", a ballad about everlasting love and its counterpart about short-term pleasures "I Need You Tonight" with its beautiful horns-arrangement. "Count On Me" is a superb song, not only because of the great lyrics saying sorry and the way these are delivered, but also because the riddim sounds like a jazzy version of Bob Marley & the Wailers' "Thank You Lord". And talking about superb, that certainly applies to the way this albums is closed with "Lullaby" with its immediately recognizable opening line i know i wasn't an easy child, one of the greatest tributes to mothers in recent years (and yes, I've heard my share of those during the last couple of years). Lee Everton succeeds with "Sing A Song For Me" in delivering a second album that even surpasses his great debut!