Assured debut album from Newcastle based singer songwriter.
Being a self-funded musician can’t be easy in a world where music is now seen by many as a commodity that should be made freely available. Ren Lawton originally started performing under his own name Conor Owen, but having adopted the Lawton alias he released his first recording, an EP entitled ‘A Calling From The Shore’, in 2017. ‘Piece of Your Heart’ from this EP resonated with listeners and has been streamed over a million times. Since then Lawton’s been travelling, gigging and raising funds by a manner of means, including a spell as an extra opposite Cillian Murphy in Peaky Blinders, to enable him to release his debut album. The writing of the album commenced in late 2017, with Lawton jotting down a stream of consciousness and random words from which the first lines of the title track ’Today Today Tomorrow’ emerged. The recording process was disjointed, owing to the pandemic, and after studio sessions in February and early March 2020, the rest of the recording had to be completed remotely.
Lawton likes travelling. ‘Love By Night’ is a song about a covert love affair. It was inspired by a summer trip Lawton made to Norway in his van, where the experience of 24 hour daylight made him think that the long dark days of winter would be perfect to allow people to go about their business, unseen by nosey parkers.
‘Thinking About You’ features a twangy guitar and has a tinge of ‘Subterranean Home Sick Blues’ about it. However, its focus is the woman who’s the object of Lawton’s affections, rather than drugs and police busts. It’s followed by the acoustic guitar based ‘Willow’. The song has an otherworldly feel to it with the protagonist dozing on a river bank beneath a weeping willow musing on lost love and death. ‘The Writer’ starts with an acoustic guitar before the band kicks in and towards its end has a great harmonica crescendo. ‘O’Kelly’s Song’ features the Irish bar, in which ‘smiles are served by the pint’ and where Lawton might spend his retirement with his friends, reflecting on a life well lived without regret, being able to say that he’d do it ‘all again this way’. The album ends with ‘Moral Mercenary’ about putting an end to money ‘grabbing tyrants’ and makes the case that it’s ‘time to take the world back into our hands’. In England, where less than 1% of the population own half the country, this is not a bad idea.
‘Today Today Tomorrow’ draws on a variety on influences including folk, blues and Americana. Lawton certainly wears his heart on his sleeve, which adds warmth to the songs. Hopefully the talented Lawton, who can play anything from the guitar to the trumpet, will not have to wait another five years before getting the resources he needs to put out his next release.