John Meeks has been playing and recording for 15 years, but his new Three Song Demo is the pre-release EP to his first full-length album, due out this Fall. It isn't as if Meeks has spent more than a decade trying to come up with some complex musical formula. In fact, what is so compelling about Meeks' music is his simple, straightforward approach. The three acoustic, country-twinged songs are free of artifice, aren't overly produced or orchestrated, and sound effortless.
Musically, the basic arrangements of shakers, drums, acoustic guitars, and the occasional electric lead stick to classic country, singer-songwriter convention. "I draw a lot of inspiration from a lot of pre-1980 country music," says Meeks. "George Jones, Willie Nelson, Kitty Wells, Roy Acuff, Marty Robbins, etc." The influences are clear, but that's not to say the songs don't offer anything new. They stand out in no small part to Meeks' exceptional voice. The modesty of the instrumentation is what allows Meeks' folky vocals to shine through, and his raspy timbre and earnest tone make the music endearing.
The EP is surprisingly consistent, making it difficult to name a single best track. "Bay Moon" is the most upbeat of the three songs, thanks to its energetic percussion (Meeks actually majored in percussion performance in college). "I See Your Lips" is a front-porch rocking chair song with a few nice, well placed sing-a-long harmonies. "On The Road (Not Again)" features the only instrumental departure with a slight infusion of horns, but Meeks' unaffected croon still reigns true.
For the full-length record, Meeks is currently recording nine more tracks to be added to these three.
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