Sylvie Simmons – Blue On Blue
Format: CD – Vinyl – Digital / Label: Compass Records
Release: 2020

Tekst: Iain Patience

‘Blue on Blue’ is an unexpected pleasure, an 11-track album rich in swirling sensuality and a sultry feel that seems strangely at odds with the principal instrument here, a ukulele. Sylvie Simmons is a Brit, now based in CA, and maybe rings a bell more due to her writing as a biographer of Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Debbie Harry in recent years.

For too many years now the ukulele has been viewed as something of a near-joke, a toy instrument by too many. Shades of the late Tiny Tim and his high-pitched warbling may have dampened enthusiasm for the instrument over the years though it has its fans, champions and even maestros in the likes of Wisconsin’s Lil’ Rev and the truly fiery picking of blues picker, Del Rey, among others.

In the UK the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain have possibly set the bar for sheer musical fun, delight and virtuosity with a repertoire that veers regularly from the theme to’ Thunderball’ through Robert Johnson’s ‘Hot Tamales’ to ‘Psycho Killer,’ an eclectic mix that singularly highlights the instrument’s versatility.

A sophomore offering, Simmons brings her own haunting touch, feel and an ethereal vocal delivery to this fine fragile-feeling project, one that genuinely grips the listener and always stays intriguingly novel and revealing.
It’s hard not to fall in love with this unexpected release, its songs of love and a life lived with passion, and I, for one, found its sheer beauty both strangely seductive and near-impossible to resist in many ways.

This is one of those albums that guarantees pleasure with a dash of quirkiness at the core. And in these decidedly weird days, maybe a quirky bit of music is just what is needed.

01. Keep Dancing
02. Nothing
03. Not in Love
04. The Thing They Don’t Tell You About Girls
05. Waiting for the Shadows to Fall
06. Carey’s Song
07. Creation Day
08. Sweet California
09. The Man Who Painted the Sea Blue
10. Stay Awhile
11. 1000 Years Before I Met You

Website: Sylvie Simmons