Music Review: Survive, by Ade Payne

EP coverSome 25 years ago, I used to frequent a pub in northern England called The Honest Lawyer (also known locally as “The Runner” due to its previous name). It’s not there anymore. Last I heard it was an Italian restaurant – which is actually an improvement from when I last visited the area, when the building was shut up, fenced off, and looked thoroughly abandoned. But anyway, The Lawyer (as I called it, being marginally too young to remember The Runner) used to have live music on a regular basis. Cover bands were popular, as were singer-songwriters such as Ade Payne. He was one of the known names around the area, and did a mix of covers and his own songs.

I left the UK in 1998 and have seen Ade only twice in the past two decades. Once was on that previous visit. The other was in Toronto, Canada, in 2006 when he was part of a British contingent at the North by North East festival. But in those two decades, he’s released two albums, has participated in numerous music festivals in Britain, performed in Nashville, Tennessee, had his music played on the BBC, raised a family, and moved to Western Australia! And, winging its way from Australia to me here in the USA just before Christmas, came his latest release – a 4 track EP called Survive.

Over the years, memories get fuzzy. I find myself wondering if a CD track was one I heard all those years ago or something new. The first track on Survive is called Don’t Make it Rattle and it was one of those tracks. It turns out an acoustic styling of it was on Ade’s High on Life album from 2013. The new version is beefed up, slowed down, and a minute longer. In this gal’s humble opinion, it’s far superior to the original.

the singer
photograph from Mr. Payne’s website

Despite the track listing on the CD sleeve (which I managed to lose for a month and, therefore, delayed the writing of this review), the next track is Redneck Holiday. I can imagine a video for this definite country music –sounding number, but I’m undecided on where it should be set. On the one hand, “redneck” is American slang and often used in a derogatory manner. Unless of course, you think of Jeff Foxworthy and his “You might be a redneck if…” But then, Ade throws in the phrase “red dirt dust” and Australia is the only place I know of where red desert dirt and dust gets onto your shoes and stays there! Still, it’s a cheery tune about friends getting together, having a cookout or a barbie, and knocking back a few drinks, while putting the world to rights and playing music. This was the song that stuck in my head after the first play and is my slight favorite.

The Johnny and Lucy narrative sounds like a mix of Garth Brooks’ Ain’t Going Down and Dierks Bentley’s What Was I Thinking, with a dash of Joe Walsh’s Life’s Been Good. It also reminded me of The Beach Boys’ Little Deuce Coupe. After listening to the number a couple of times, I think it’s probably the weak link of the collection. Finally, comes the title track Survive. This is one that grew on me. It has a very different sound to the other songs, and I love the mandolin. My main complaint is that it’s too short! It feels like that hidden bonus track at the end of the album.

Hey, American friends. You don’t need to be in Britain or Australia, or a friend of the artist, to hear this EP. Samples are available on both Amazon and iTunes, with the option to purchase downloads. You can also sample and purchase Ade’s first album on iTunes. Run a search for Ade Payne, and don’t ask me why he’s under the Comedy genre, I have no idea!

Ade’s website:

Oh yeah, the disclaimer: I received the Survive EP from Ade Payne, who asked me to “write a review (an honest opinion)” because apparently I’m “very good at doing that sort of thing.” Here you go, mate, sorry it took me a little longer than expected. I don’t think I’ve written a music review since I was in college!

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