Country Jukebox Jury EP: Kezia Gill – The Mess I Made

Kezia’s music has been played on Bob Harris’s show for the past year. Her first, 2019’s Dead Ends and Detours, included fan favourite Whiskey Drinkin’ Woman and the tribute to her now late father Local Man’s Star. The EP is an enormous step up from a wonderful indie artist.

I like the way Kezia introduces herself on the EP’s final track, the country shuffle of The Adventures of a Travelling Mind (‘I can do anything I want, baby!’) which invokes her Friday night lockdown sessions but with a live band behind her.

The title track begins with a bluesy wail, which draws the listener in; Sarah Jory’s electric guitar meshes well with some terrific production in a song of vulnerability. ‘One mistake is all it takes’ is the song’s key line. Despite Kezia now calling herself a singer/songwriter rather than a country act, Country Song shows her affinity with the genre as she heads to Broadway in Nashville ‘straight into a country song’: cowboy boots, dancing, alcohol and that’s country bingo! Live It Up is similarly euphoric, as befits a carpe diem lyric with a singalong hook that repeats the word ‘tonight’.

All Of Me is a minor-key waltz which, thanks to the squealing guitar near the end, would sound brilliant on Strictly, with Kezia’s love sounding total (as befits the title) and vaguely frightening. Bad For Me is another triple-time tune with a musicbox mood. ‘Your web of lies did not surprise me’ is what Kezia sings of a man who makes ‘bad feel so good’. The arrangement is extraordinary, especially the massed backing vocals and the fierce, fearsome guitar solo. Please make 20 minutes to check our Kez’ out.

Some acts spend four years playing the same tunes over and over again. They write them, play them in bars, get a record deal, play them in clubs, go on a radio tour, play the songs, hear them on the radio, play them in small venues, play them abroad and eventually get sick of playing the song. Even new songs just mean there’s something to play before the hit. Two acts return with new ones after a long gestation period.

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