John Wright,
That's the Way Love Is:
A Collection of Love Songs

(Twirtle, 2003)

This is a gently paced and quiet album to relax to on a lazy weekend afternoon. Sit -- or lie -- back and let the world float by while you listen! John Wright's combination of roots, country and soul love songs creates an accessible album with potentially wide appeal to different music audiences. John's voice is strong and lyrical throughout.

All of the songs are arranged and produced by Maartin Allcock, who also makes a very significant musical contribution alongside John's vocals. Chris Leslie's mandolin playing is characteristic of the album's ambience; although it is only featured on three tracks, it accompanies John's voice particularly effectively.

"Summer Lightning" by Ralph McTell is a typically stripped back and relaxed song. One of the album's highlights is Mary Chapin Carpenter's "Where Time Stands Still," on which some heartfelt singing is accompanied by evocative acoustic nylon guitar playing (also featuring on two later tracks). "The Weakness in Me," by Joan Armatrading, includes good instrumentation combining guitar and mandolin. "How Can I Tell You" seems made for John's voice and makes effective use of the mandolin.

One of my favourites is the concluding "Never a Moment," by Jimmy LaFave, with its superb use of Native American flute. This instrument creates a haunting sound that perhaps could have been used elsewhere too on the album. I also think the acoustic basis of the album is a great strength and occasionally the addition of keyboard and electric guitar seems unnecessary.

Although this is a more understated album than John's earlier Dangerous Times, it nevertheless makes a considerable impact and will be enjoyed by many.

- Rambles
written by Andy Jurgis
published 1 May 2004

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