Renowned as the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter of psychobilly outfit Norm And The Nightmarez, the similarly rocked Mickey & The Mutants before that and numerous other projects over the years, Norm Elliott has just unveiled his new solo album. The Acoustic SongSmith Vol. 1 is a collection of tracks echoing the album’s title, primarily voice, guitar and emotion uniting in one captivating encounter.
A melodic troubadour across fifteen tracks written over many years, Norm openly shares his heart and emotions on The Acoustic SongSmith as well as an appetite for a rich array of musical styles all woven into his individual acoustic prowess. The intimacy fuelling its body is as striking as the character and magnetism in songwriting already established across previous exploits and indeed album opener, The Planets, immediately pulls at thoughts and feelings. The track is a smile and tear of melancholic beauty, that baring of intimacy immediately revealed in word and voice yet tapping into experiences and feelings most will have in their own lives.
It is a captivating start to the album matched by the equally evocative Kaleidoscope Dreams. Again guitar strings and voice cast a mesmeric proposal, a home for longing and reality as it entangles around ears before Rock Me in Your Arms (Tonight) brings its own particular temptation to life. With a Celtic lilt provided by a fiddle like haunting, the song is a folkish sigh aligned to, just like in most tracks, the instinctive rock ‘n’ roll hue which makes up Norm’s creativity.
Seemingly a childhood reminiscence, Windscreen had thoughts and memories warmly stirred next before A Beautiful English Summers Sunny Day added another bright smile to ears and imagination with its holiday-esque stroll. Both songs ignite personal imagery with another wave of smiles tempted by successor, Dr M.J. Rutherford’s Medicine Show. With a great Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band tinge, the song is a sideshow carnival of pleasure, Norm’s strings as provocative as his swinging tones, the track proving one of our thickest favourites across the album.
Fair to say though every song caught our imagination and pleasure in varying but strong degrees, the likes of Unwind, Light of the Moon, and Hills of Calm all seducing ears with their respectively earnest realisations and hearts. The melodic caress of each was enough to get under the skin, the lyrical hug of all, especially within the folkish picture of the second and the classic rock ‘n’ roll canter of its successor, a spark for heart nurtured thoughts.
Alongside the album’s opener, A King for a Pawn is one of the most emotional and haunting moments within the album, a song persistently bringing a lump to the throat listen by listen as the strength of Norm’s words and reflections are accentuated by the strokes of his guitar.
You Took My Breath Away with its southern twang provides yet another shade of temptation within the release with next up Lovin’ in the Rain a serenade of loneliness from which again everyone can pluck particular moments in their lives to equate to.
The final trio of songs ensure the album departs as potently and magnetically as it entered, A Thousand Candles Do Burn an eye and thought on the plight of the world’s easily forgotten and easily as potent as the visual eyes our screens provide. In turn Gurkha’s Lament points to another injustice all can see except political gaze before the album finally closes on the lively stroll of Travellin’ On, a song quickly and effortlessly under the skin.
A decade of styles and flavours are hinted at across the album’s library of enterprise, tantalising tracks with that fifties rock ‘n’ roll heart always a core tempting yet as suggested each bringing its own character and heart to the listener. It all makes for one richly enjoyable encounter and companion for ears and emotions.
The Acoustic SongSmith Vol 1 is available now through Amazon and streaming @ https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_khOitWwNNktfvb4IcLf9JPMi1tVNUlBkw
Pete RingMaster 04/07/2020