This is Tidewater's third project with producer Kevin Gales (Fiona Apple, Kid Rock, and Sarah MacLachlan) and their collaboration has led to an incredible level of success for an unsigned independent artist. The new EP will be available at all digital outlets as Tidewater gears up for a full length release this Spring.
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Tidewater, the brainchild of Baylor college student Brett Allen, has already made waves with the release of debut album The Seas We Sail in April 2011. Self-described as “folky-pop indie rock,” Allen boasts comparisons to acts as diverse as Owl City and Switchfoot with a healthy dose of folk influenced instrumentation reminiscent of Nickel Creek and Mumford & Sons. On January 24, 2012, Tidewater brought a fresh EP born from his work with producer Kevin Gales.
The three-song collection begins with “Not Just Any Love,” a smooth fusion of acoustic and electronic elements in a song about unconditional love. The soft beat and combination of guitar, banjo, mandolin, and keys are all perfectly blended to create a backdrop for the lyrics: “you can stay, you can be still, you are wanted right here.” The song is heartfelt and encouraging, complex without feeling contrived.
The EP continues with title track “The Beautiful Life.” Here Tidewater’s rich songwriting is showcased brilliantly in an infectiously hopeful song about seeing beauty in life: “I saw the best of the blues in town in St. Louis. I saw the best of the blues in the skies of central Texas. Then I saw the blues in my nephew’s brand new eyes. This is the life.” Here the comparison to the songwriting of Switchfoot’s Jon Foreman is justified, with lyrics that are accessible while still holding a fixed and steady hope forefront.
“Desire” wraps up the collection on a slightly darker thematic note, exploring the endlessly needy nature of the human heart. This track explores a broader, more symphonic sound, based on a strong backbone of creative, layered beats. The instrumentation is beautifully crafted throughout, and here Brett Allen’s vocals also come into their own.
Closing Thoughts: Throughout the collection, Tidewater draws on and combines countless elements in unique ways. Despite the diversity of the instruments and stylistic elements, the EP doesn’t feel forced. This is a rare ambitious project that actually lives up to its potential. Relatively early in his work, Brett Allen of Tidewater has already found his voice, and he embraces it. Whether playing mandolin, banjo, guitar, or programming synth beats, Allen achieves a beautifully crafted sound encasing an unwavering spark of hope.
I hadn’t heard of Tidewater before so I went into this release with completely fresh ears. Tidewater is another of those one-man bands, with Brett Alan at the helm of this relatively unnoticed musical vessel. Tidewater’s latest offering, The Beautiful Life, is a short, 3-track EP that has proven itself to be a surprisingly pleasant listen. The electronically tinged pop felt both fresh and familiar to me, recalling a few slight comparisons to acts such as Owl City and to a lesser extent, Abandon.
The EP opens with “Not Just Any Love.” The song is a hopeful one speaking of how the love of God can find a person no matter where they are, and that this love is “not just any love, but the love of a father for his daughter and son.” The song is musically upbeat, making for a memorable track.
The title track follows with another upbeat pop track, speaking of how the simple joys of our lives, such as the eyes of a newborn baby of a profession of love, make up “The Beautiful Life.”
“Desire” closes out the EP and opens with a fairly epic opening intro, which--along with some upbeat cheers--help propel the track to become the musically strongest of the three. Lyrically, the track speaks of how worldly desires hold us down: “Every time I turn around, something costs so much. I want it all.” But it then goes on in the chorus to say how “desire holds me to the ground.”
The track can serve as a reminder to tilt our wants heavenward and to not get bogged down in wanting the things on this earth, which will ultimately leave us feeling empty and unfulfilled, fueling even more desire. It’s a simple lesson and one taught many times before in music, but it is also one that our modern world seems in urgent need to be reminded of as often as possible.
Closing Thoughts: I enjoyed this EP for what it was and it has earned Tidewater a spot on the list of artists I’ll be keeping an eye on. The EP may only come with 3 songs but these are 3 songs worth playing to uplift the spirit. I’ll be curious to see where Brett Alan will take Tidewater on the next outing.
Miss the old sound| Posted February 24, 2012
I have always enjoyed the newsboys. But I've had a hard time getting used to the new sound. I know that some people may like it (and that's great) but I just don't like their new sound. Although I do like the song God's Not Dead, it seems to sound more like their old sound.
Full length will be amazing| Posted January 25, 2012
This is another step for Tidewater who has always shown a lot of talent, but this is next level. Anyone that can blend interesting acoustic and electronic elements, than add really creative beats gets your attention. Not just any love reminds me of what a gift god has given us. Desire is outstanding musically and The Beautiful Life is a fun and grateful song that reminds us we are blessed. I am loved, I am blessed and I am impressed with the talent of Brett Allen.
Awesome!| Posted January 14, 2012
"Desire" is such a beautiful song! This EP is something different from most of the rest out there. It is very refreshing and i can listen over and over agian. All of the songs throughly comunicate a wonderful message.