Fringes of the Wayside
Familiarity with the singer/songwriter genre can be both pleasant and painful. On one hand, it’s hard to find something original, given the limitations of the solo-act style, especially when an acoustic guitar is being employed. However, when somebody arrives who is unique, it can be a celebratory occasion. This is one of those times. By mixing folk, country and blues, Stephen Inglis is expanding the boundaries — or at least the perceived restrictions — of the singer/songwriter genre. You can hear all three drifting in and out of his songs effortlessly, without calling attention to themselves. In fact, it’s frightening how easily he accomplishes the feat; you quickly realize that these styles belong together.
That Inglis is incorporating country into his acoustic pop is a brave and refreshing accomplishment, given that so many of his peers are opting for a John Mayer approach, leaning towards the alternative side of the fence. Not Inglis. There’s a purity to his work that is intoxicating and uplifting. Stainless songwriting and a genuinely good-natured personality let the tunes come alive. They may seem too slow for some, but that says more about the short attention span of today’s listeners than anything else. Inglis gives his songs time to unfold, and they’re thoroughly fulfilling. This is an album that deserves to be played from beginning to end without interruption.
Stephan Inglis: www.stepheninglis.com