Ben Barlett, GUITARIST Magazine, February 2003
If you didn't get a chance to witness Lou Stonehill's acoustic prowess in the flesh at Music Live 2002, don't worry. Inner Space is a self-produced selection of songs which showcase both Lou's songwriting and production skills as well as his incredible command of the acoustic guitar.
Highlights include Six Abuse, where Lou puts a Takamine EAN 45C through it's paces using DADGAD tuning and some super quick percussive playing as a salute to our friend Eric Roche. The Thing About Sarah has a wonderful Celtic vibe, capable of lifting the spirits and, like St Piran's Porth, it is a reminder of the acoustic guitar's power to convey emotions. Lou is a talented composer and lyricist and, if this quality debut is anything to go by, we can expect great things from him in the future. ****
Paul Ridge, AND Magazine, March 2003
Lou is a local singer/songwriter, film and TV writer/producer and all-round secret of the south coast who could just be about to make it big with this new album of excellent original material. Having been classically trained on the guitar from an early age, Lou now works as a freelance with his fingers in a lot of interesting pies, but reading the liner notes on the album sleeve you get the impression that his major love is writing, recording and performing his own music and boy, does it show when you listen to this album. With the material ranging from lilting, latin-tinged classical acoustic pieces to heart-felt, emotional vocal songs this is one of those rare albums that instantly carry you to a whole other place - most likely the "inner space" the title suggests.
Having spent a lot of time on the road both here and abroad with a whole gammut of cosmopolitan musician friends, Lou is well-placed to inspire his audience to drift off to those secret, hideaway treasure troves we all have in our hearts and minds ... it could be a fond memory of a holiday, or a person you love or just the merest hint of an idea you might have for a trip or experience you want to enjoy in the future, but whatever it is, whatever your dream, this guy's music is so evocative. I think the key to instrumental pieces working is whether they get your creative juices flowing and set your mind working or not, and with distinct flavours in each of his songs that work almost like suggestive nudges, you soon find yourself sitting back and chilling to each one, with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
There's a nice balance between the tracks, with the opening jazzy number Spirits Walking kicking things off on a decidedly upbeat tip : there's a smattering of drums, some funky bass (which reminded me of Marcus Miller) and a teasing keyboard refrain all backing up the lyrical front line of the acoustic steel guitar Lou plays so beautifully. Another of his sidelines is as the official UK demonstrator of Takamine Guitars and you can tell he absolutely loves his job! He can tell Mum and Dad that the classical training certainly paid off ....
The album reminds me a lot of Steve Howe, another classical specialist (most famously a member of prog-rock outfit Yes) and also of some of the quieter moments that Steve Vai enjoys from time to time, though I'm not sure Lou would thank me for the latter comparison!
Lou has a good range to his voice so that at times he sounds like David Gray (especially on the witty Mrs Right Now) on one track while more like a softer Mark King (of Level 42) on others. In fact, I think the latter comparison is perhaps more fitting with the music on offer here. It's definitely like their smoother, more jazz-funk earlier work at times, while at others it could be Django Reinhardt playing in a smoke-filled Paris cafe... I particularly like his version of the Jerome Kern classic All The Things You Are which rips along at quite a pace. Six Abuse is not just a great title for a song either, with the funky tom-toms setting the scene well from the off, as Lou takes you on a flight across the African plains ... at least that's where I went when I heard it!
Are you getting the picture yet? Because that's precisely what you do when you listen to Inner Space : it's like a free trip every time you hear it and yet you decide where it is you fancy going today ...
If there's any justice in this world, Lou Stonehill will make it because this is a great album, and one which I liked on first listen and soon loved having heard it a few more times. If he can get a break on Radio 2 from the likes of Terry Wogan (don't laugh - without him you never would have heard of Eva Cassidy) then this could fly .... in the meantime, I'm about to board my own private jet once more and see where it takes me .... put this in your stereo, press *play* and you could be doing the same .....
PLEASE NOTE: This Album has been professionally recorded, produced, mastered, and pressed.
(To download an acrobat .pdf file of the album booklet for more info, go here - http://www.loustonehill.com/solo.html and click on the cover photo.)