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Music Review: Jason Soudah – Six Hours EP

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Whatever happened to folk from Barnsley? Are you not allowed to get a record deal these days without a captivating back story? Do you have to be a one kidney adoptee in order to get press? If so, poor Jason Soudah is going to struggle. He's only a Welsh based, Japanese born Irish / Cypriot acoustic singer songwriter. So what chance does he have?

A precocious child who won a music scholarship at age 12 for his piano playing, the lure of a guitar and rock music proved to much, and he formed a five-piece band at University who made quite an impression on the local Cardiff music scene. But, being in a band wasn't where his heart lay, so it was off to solo stardom via incidental music for Japanese films and documentaries. He's been busy playing the British toilet circuit but has still found time for America, playing sets at SXSW and World Café Live in Philadelphia, in addition to gigs in Los Angeles, Dallas, Austin, and New York City.

Following on from an earlier album which came out a couple of years back, this release is a five track EP of rather splendid, melodic pop songs, which BBC Radio 2 seem rather keen on. So, I think you know where we are. Firmly in the realms of the James Blunts and Newton Faulkners of this world. But good! Heartfelt, plaintive, emotive songs about being a bit girly, but piano, rather than acoustic guitar, led, each one rich in melody.

He seems a bit unsure as to who he wants to be yet, as opening number "Dive With Me" heads straight down the route marked Snow Patrol and Starsailor. Something Which Is Bad. But he can also wheech out an absolute diamond of a song called "Roses," which deserves to be on repeat play from here to eternity. Sure, it's big ballad territory, but when it's done this well, then we're all entitled to feel momentarily moist.

It's a good sounding, well produced EP, courtesy of producer Romesh Dodangoda who has worked with Kids in Glasshouses, The Blackout, and Dopamine. Jason has a cracking voice which really sells his songs, oozing with passion for what he's doing, and an excellent way with words, something that keeps you listening intently, in case you miss a lyrical gem. If he gets the radio push that lesser mortals have had, we could be hearing a lot of him in days to come.

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About Stuart A Hamilton