I could listen to Simon Widdowson all day if I’m perfectly honest. Have you had a long, exasperating shift at work? Rows with the in-laws? Stressed about over-expenditure from early Christmas shopping? Fear not, for Mr Widdowson could calm the heart rate of a raging bullock. Equally, if you’re in a happy-go-lucky kinda mood, just met the girl/guy of your dreams or are about to set off on the holiday of a lifetime, the man’s music is still the perfect soundtrack, like a permanently heated vest hugging your soul on the coldest of winter evenings.
The last we heard of Widdowson, he was developing huge, expansive soundscapes on the highly ambitious ‘Retractable Roots‘ album. Where that album was unpredictable and largely instrumental, however, Looking For The Sun is altogether more standard singer-songwriter fare. It’s no less appealing for that though, as I have already alluded to in my opening paragraphs, but it is certainly easier to find references to describe its sound. I Am Kloot, in particular, seem to have been an inspiration on several tracks here, although when I mentioned this to the man himself, he replied “I’d better check them out then!” so perhaps I’m not ALWAYS “on the money” with these things!
There are many other artists who spring to mind at various points during Looking For The Sun. ‘Nowhere Special‘, for example, has a moody ‘Working Class Hero‘ kind of ambience about it, whereas the track that follows it, ‘Take Another Chance‘, effectively conveys a similar guitar motif to the one Noel Gallagher used in the chorus of Oasis‘s 1996 smash ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger‘. Neither of those songs sound particularly like the songs I’ve compared them with, but you would certainly be able to see where I’m coming from if you listen carefully.
Widdowson’s vocals are always, without fail, radiant with warmth, often approaching a place as romantic as Jason Isbell at his tender-hearted best. I say this not lightly either, for the likes of the dreamy title track (“I don’t mind if it sometimes turns out wrong, I don’t remember anything I’ve done, except looking for the sun“) or the gorgeous, wistful ‘Good Days‘ (“A friend of the rain and a fool for the sun, no stranger to sadness from where I’ve come“) are enough to set your mind wandering off to another world full of magnificent mountainous scenery and idyllic summer boat trips on sparkling lakes.
Looking For The Sun is, in essence, three quarters of an hour of having your soul stroked.
Looking For The Sun is out now on Are You Listening Records.