That folk-rock balladeer Nicholas Lurwick wrote, produced and recorded the entirety of this album is a wonder. Its polish and charm is evident from the off. Opener ‛The Factory’ makes a strong statement – a quirky yet traditional-sounding track with some lovely overdubs, an arresting melody and wonderful vocals. Nick Lurwick sounds a little like Neil Young, a little like Gram Parson, but most of all he sounds like himself; an unique and unmistakable voice, mature, wholly sincere and drenched in a fine brew of Americana and Folk.

Nick states that, after years of recording, he finally came into a strange sense of self-realisation through heartbreak and a mental breakdown. The profundity and pathos of those experiences run throughout Early Spring Blues, but this is not a record which feels sorry for itself. There is plenty of strength to go with its beauty.

Perhaps what is so surprising about this set is just how accomplished it feels. The arrangements and production are simply fantastic, with little touches and nuance that can only truly be appreciated with multiple listens. Take the wonderful ‛I’m Not Here For Business Any More’ with its simple refrain underpinned by graceful washes of harmonica, piano and choral vocals.

The song-writing throughout is as strong as you could wish for. There is variety in the musical palette and much invention, but the backbone of Early Spring Blues is Lurwick’s honest and memorable lyricism. Fans of the genre will find much to love here, and those new to the scene will be delighted by the pop sensibility on display.