Charlie Oxford is the self-titled debut album of Nashville blues and soul musician Charlie Oxford. In the first track, “Waiting For,” Oxford croons along to the tunes of a mellow guitar and the accompaniment of a bounty of horns, demonstrating both his vocal prowess and his gift with the strings. The album’s lead single, “Drive Me Crazy,” features a smooth, sliding guitar riff and the first employment of Oxford’s elated falsetto; the song is ultimately rounded with the aid of a guitar solo that dances dexterously up and down the length of the fret board.
“Speak Out” is a searching, great-big-world of a track that begins with a folk-styled acoustic intro before re-introducing the horns. The song shines in a resonant, soulful way that sets it apart from the preceding tracks, demonstrating Oxford’s penchant for diversity in sound and tone. Oxford continues to employ the acoustic guitar on the next track, “You & I,” a ballad of thoughtful departure that finds Oxford’s voice rising and falling with a consistent quaver: the promise put forth in the song and the inclusion of the brass section will undoubtedly remind the listener of Edwin McCain’s massively successful hit, “I’ll Be.”
“Disappear” is a tone-changing number that uses an electronic intro and an airy sound on the guitar to communicate a sense of transience as the speaker looks to find placelessness on an earth that wants to hold his feet steady. “Intermission” is a predictably short bit that solely utilizes the sounds of an adagiated string section, allowing the listener to associate the piece with sketches from Samuel Barber and Franz Schubert and assigning a sense of timelessness to the record. The finale of “Intermission” fades into the decidedly more lively “Stranger than Fiction,” a song that is nevertheless supported by the wistful pulling and excited sawing of the violin strings along with a march-inspired drum beat.
“Overdose” is a sugary street-corner blues song about the insatiable want for the rest of a new lover. “Move In On Me” is likely the most experimental track on the album as its beginning includes the use of electronics as well as spoken vocals, although Oxford abandons this in favor of finger-choking the guitar and using his trademark horns, giving the song a Jason Mraz feel. A pulsing, ignited strumming characterizes “Letting Go;” the echoing vocals, glittering guitar, and ambitious lyrics find Oxford effectively reproducing elements of Coldplay and One Republic, adding to the canon of hope-filled pop anthems of world travel and personal inspiration.
Oxford closes the album with the lively, piano-centric tune “Another Thing Coming,” giving the addressee a mild earful and promising his return with a w ink to the listener. Overall, the album triumphs as a modern take on the traditional blues. Soulfully including lyrics of eternal want and desperate curiosity, this gem of wanderlust is a must for all fans of Gavin Degraw, Rob Thomas, and all musicians who are adapting the hopeful aspects of blue-eyed soul.
The Review: 7.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Waiting For
– Drive Me Crazy
– Speak Out
– Intermission/Stranger Than Fiction
– Letting Go
The Big Hit
– Letting Go
Review by McKinnie Sizemore
Buy the album: Amazon