To those of us who have been long term fans of Ian Parker this EP does not come as a massive departure from his usual style but rather it is where he has been heading for some time – and it really is quite superb too.

On paper Parker is a Blues guitarist, one of the new breed alongside Danny Bryant and Jay Tamkin and insofar as he was mentored in part by Walter Trout and Tomas Ruf that isn’t a big surprise; however, he was always a soulful performer and often looking deep inside himself his best numbers were more catharsis and explorations of the soul than simple rock n roll. This EP has all of the new Ian Parker and even though we don’t get the gut-wrenching guitar work what we gain is the untrammelled songwriting and easy presentation of a man who has found the sound he wants.

His voice has a pleading quality to it and he opens with ’Winding River’, a string-laden elegy to relationships with a delightfully gentle feel and some fine guitar playing.
‘Grow’ is a piece of songwriting mastery that seems to describe the travails of being one thing while you are trying to be something else – one of the songs of the year as far as this writer is concerned and almost anthemic in its swelling and ebbing delivery.
‘Lovers and Friends’ features his guitar at its best and ‘Lost’ has a haunting Americana feel to it while ‘Keep Me Walking’ is a jaunty love song in a country vein.

Ian Parker is beginning to emerge from the British Blues Guitarist role that he has been fulfilling for a while and as a first step this EP is evidence that there is a real star in the making. I can’t wait for the album!