Artist: Jo Lewis: Picture Show
Available from BPM records
Reviewer: Mark Wheeler - TNT UK
Reviewed: from record shop day 2012
Published: January, 2013
Jo Lewis came to Derby to study music and music tech. She has appeared at Wirksworth Arts Festival and is being promoted by local record shop BPM records, a stalwart Derby emporium for many years, despite changes of premises and new emphases with changing times. Dave Hill, proprietor of BPM records, and no relation to the be-fringed Slade guitarist, is the typical record shop owner of yore, attempting to keep the record shop flame alive and to promote local talent. This is why record shops are important, and why NO amount of automated 'Customers who bought this, also bought that' messages will ever replace record shop expertise. BPM don't have a currently functional website, but their Facebook page should keep readers up to date. They were one of the featured record shops in the national broadsheet British newspaper, The Independent.
Comparisons are demanded in reviews of unfamiliar artists, if only to help readers feel on familiar or safe territory. Embedded youtube clips ought to render this unecessary, but the inevitably limited bandwidth of online vid clips saps both the subtle nuances and big shifts of good performances, so until we all get terabyte connections, some 'a bit like...' sentences will creep under the radar. The title track, Picture Show, Track 6 on Picture Show, is reminiscent of a young Sonja Krystina (heard in 2011 on Curved Air's Live Atmosphere tour and who has still got it). If it were played unexpectedly on low resolution BBC6 Music (the most likely UK national station to feature new music, but irritatingly low resolution for such a project), without an introduction, many listeners might easily mistake 2010 Jo Lewis for 1970 Sonja Krystina.
Your old scribe has railed against the dull predictability of hi-fi stores and exhibitors at shows continuing to use the same old cliche albums, demonstrating the age of both promoter and
punter alike. One of those cliché albums is the eponymous Ricky Lee Jones debut, spotted at every audio show since its 1979 release...
"So what's that got to do with this review?" inquire plebs chorus, stage left, perfectly reasonably.
Jo Lewis' Grizzly in My Bed, Track 9 on Picture Show, has all the paradoxically breathy and simultaneously upbeat qualities of that 33 year old RLJ debut.
It is a shame that audio manufacturers and demonstrators fail to realise that one of the great joys of great audio is being able to hear new voices. Perhaps at the next audio show the old scribe attends, systems will be demonstrated by new music like Jo Lewis.
Another example of a little known artist, simply recorded, access to whom depends on being local or owning a decent stereo system and a cd.
This is why good audio systems and acceptable quality recordings are so important. Our lives are enriched by previously unexperienced artistes and musical performances and their audience is enriched by new members with diverse musical histories.
Copyright © 2012 Mark Wheeler - www.tnt-audio.com