Artist: Billy Grima
Album: Sugar & Cream
For his third album, Billy Grima is bringing his sugared song writing style a step forwards. As with much of the pop/country/folk canon, wearing influences on your sleeve can be a blessing and a curse. During ‘Calender Girl,’ for example, Grima’s reverence and stylistic choices call to mind a mid-period Bob Dylan. Of the influences to choose, Dylan ranks among the finest, but altering and evolving the template can be tough. By so carefully fine tuning his style in the light of his forebears, Grima is in danger of becoming someone who sounds like someone famous, rather than famous in his own right. For an artist on his third album, this can be a difficult problem to overcome.
However, the singer manages to avoid the temptation of simply straying too close to the pool of influences. For every vocal flourish that calls to mind James Taylor, Grima takes a slightly different turn. While clearly a sum of his inspirational parts, the growing idiosyncrasies which emerge across the album help to carve a separate niche for Grima to sit in. Not alone among contemporaries such as Ed Sheeran or Jason Mraz, Grima is more content to veer towards the classical in his style. This helps him stand out. While others might be more content to bring the old standards up to date, he seems to rather call back to the style rather than simply imitate it. For these intents and purposes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. In this case, Grima’s acknowledging of his musical forebears allows him to play with the genre’s conventions in a manner avoided by his peers.
That is not to say the album is without its pop hooks, however. Track such as ‘You Mean the World to Me’ and first single ‘Pleasure to have Met You’ offer audiences catchy choruses and the kind of rising vocal lines you might just catch yourself humming along to at a later date. Jumpier, bouncing along, the radio-friendly offerings such as these hint at a potentially lucrative future on the airwaves should Grima break through into the mainstream.
As one of the current pop landscape’s most enduringly popular figures, the singer song writer with a guitar and a Billy Joel discography will always offer listeners a chance to sing along to simple, easy to digest pop music. With the country flourishes and the nods to the titans of the musical history, Billy Grima’s ‘Sugar & Cream’ is the sound of an artist increasingly comfortable in his style. As Grima continues to write and release music, he is edging ever closer to potential mainstream success.
YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/user/BillyGrima
– Huw T.