Nick Heyward-Young

South Coast-based troubadour Nick Hayward-Young has just released his second album Level. The 10 track all original collection is a follow up to his debut Palomino, which introduced him as a sterling all-rounder with the ability to create his own unique styles in an assortment of ways. Nick describes his new album as “…having something to appeal to a lot of tastes… a collection of songs that don’t belong in one boxî and acknowledging that…” there will be those that see the diversity on the album as its strength; while those looking to pigeon-hole my style will see it as a weakness, but that’s just too bad; I can’t write to a formula”. The album was all recorded in his home studio where the whole thing was put together single-handedly with Nick doing all writing, playing, recording and mixing himself.

Nick speaks of his creation process saying he never sets out to write a song; he says “I don’t think right, Iím going into the studio to write and record a song. What happens is different every time but basically, a song starts with me noodling away on one of my guitars or on the keyboard and Iíll find myself humming a tune or singing a few words over a chord progression or a riff. The style or genre of the song doesnít come into my head” and he goes on to say “the rest of the process is decoration – the trick being not to over-decorate”. The first person in the quality control process is Nick’s partner, who will always have something to say, which he does not always like hearing – but which he has learned to take on board. She has an excellent ear and her suggestions; whilst nearly always very small, are almost always valid and worth acting on.

Nick Heyward-Young

The album kicks off with ‘Jokers Shoes’ where Nick uses blues-style electric guitars and his softly delivered vocals to deliver an opening tune about something we possibly all do on a day to day basis, putting on a masquerade of one type or another. ‘Your Thousand Faces’ sees piano, strings, and harmonica combined on this beautiful love song that clearly comes from the heart. The writer shows a clear contentment with everything in life and virtually all the songs here are positively uplifting, things that we all strive to achieve. ‘She Just Smiled’ brings some nicely executed soul to proceedings while “I Don’t Care For That” turns things around again with a rockabilly style arrangement. “The Most Perfect Day” is a simple but effective little ditty that utilises some simple acoustic guitars describing how great doing nothing sometimes is.

One of the stand out tunes of this collection is the final track ‘Salterns Lake’ where Nick takes to the piano to describe the scene of one of his favourite places, a beautiful picturesque backwater in Lymington full of wildlife and a perfect place to walk your dog. Even if you have not witnessed the place yourself Nick conjures up the landscape from his lovely meaningful lyrics and delicate vocal delivery. The album turns lots of corners along the way with it sometimes sounding like the Style Council, sometimes like Squeeze with influences from JJ Cale, Jackson Browne, and many others. It’s nice to get a record so varied and full of passion and colour.

Nick Heyward-Young

Track Listing
Jokers Shoes
Your Thousand Faces
This is For You
I’ve had it Easy
She Just Smiled
Someone Like You
I Don’t Care For That
The Most Perfect Day
I’m Not Ready
Salterns Lake




Words by David Chinery (Chinners).

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to MySpace