Howard Lee-Naylor

Howard Lee-Naylor is a singer-songwriter from Canada. He was born with some of his fingers missing, but overcame his handicap by learning to play keyboards, sometimes using both hands for one chord. After spending time in Los Angeles and Nashville, where he developed his writing and performing skills with Danny Patnode in the duo, Partners in Rhyme, a need for surgery necessitated a return to his hometown of Vancouver. Now a regular on the local club circuit, he has recorded a new album, “Possibilities”, with the help of producer/mixer Ian Lopez Ganoza, guitarist and bassist Carl Korytko, drummer Mike Michalkow and Megan Engel on violin, viola and cello.

Howard mentions that he likes The Beatles, the Beach Boys, Billy Joel and the country artist Dwight Yoakam, so his influences are certainly old school, with an emphasis on concise, tight arrangements, melody and harmony. But what pricked my interest was the comment in his blurb that he had, ìcreated his own unique soundî. Now unique to me conjures up artists such as Tom Waits or Bjork, one of a kind, mavericks who continuously push the envelope in both ideas, sound and performance, disappointingly Howard isn’t one of these, he is a traditional writer of pleasant hummable songs.

Howard Lee-Naylor

ëPossibilitiesí is a collection of compositions about relationships, passion, unrequited love, breakups, longing and frustration. Of the twelve tracks, the majority are mid-paced, a couple are ballads, namely “Matter of Convenience” and “I’m in Love With You” which both benefit from added strings from Megan Engel and a further two are more upbeat, particularly “Ginger Girl” with its Chuck Berry guitar fills. The overall laidback MOR feel of the album would appeal more to mums and dads with conventional musical tastes, rather than those who prefer a bit of raunchy rock ní roll, think the Rembrandts, early Beatles or the Lightning Seeds and you wouldnít be too far off the mark. Performance wise everything here is present and correct and canít be faulted, his pleasant vocal harmonies enhance the songs, the supporting musicians add nice fills and accompaniment without being over fussy and some of the songs have good hooks that linger after repeated plays.

This album is like one of those inoffensive soundtracks that you half notice tootling away in the background at a restaurant, but then, while least expecting it, a nagging tune pops into your head and you wonder where the hell it came from. So, not an original ground-breaking exercise that will grab your attention, more a pleasant diversion to while away the time as you peel the spuds.

Howard Lee-Naylor

Possibilities Track Listing
I’m On Your Time
You Can’t Hide Whatís in Your Heart
Think About Love
When Your My Girl
Iím in Love With You
Those Summer Days
Never Knew the Ways of Love
For so Long
Matter of Convenience
Ginger Girl


Words By John Cherry.