Donny Harvey - Muzikreviews.com Staff
Quinn Hedges - Without You
Let's just get it out of the way, because you'll notice it soon enough. Even though the musical ideas and melodies are highly original, stylistic comparisons to John Mayer are, I'm afraid, inevitable for any listener hearing Quinn Hedges' Without You for the first time. More than anything else, Hedges' vocal styling’s when he sings softly bear a strong resemblance to Mayer's breathy tone. This is not, though, any kind of imitation. The more that you listen, the more the differences will stand out. The most remarkable instances are in Hedges' use of multiple voices in harmony, which is simply beautiful. The quality is choral rather than just an echo, or a doubling of the vocal track, or even compared to the usual static harmonization you hear on so many pop songs. “She's Gone” and “Clearly Now” are only two great examples from Without You that are well worth checking out.
The guitar work is also often quite different, as Hedges' uses a variety of styles over the course of the album. Sections of “Sometimes” are somewhat reminiscent of the Eagles' “Seven Bridges Road”. “Back Home” features guitar of a Spanish flavor. “Wake Me Up” does happen to sound a little like a Mayer tune, guitar-wise, but even then near the end of the song when Hedges sings out; he is obviously entirely his own musician. It's a nice example of his stronger vocal sound that he puts to great use from time to time as the music goes on. Backing up to “Back Home”, it would be wrong not to note the exquisite string writing on this track, which combined with that unique 'choral' vocal writing makes it a highlight of the CD, and just one more example of the composer's fertile musical imagination.
Without You by Quinn Hedges is a moving record. His straight forward words are beautifully supported by his guitar playing, and other music making. The timeless theme of romantic loss, and the struggle to recover from it, get a fresh and meaningful setting here. Don't miss out on this great cathartic musical experience!