Rhys Duursma “Songs From Swan Street Vol.1”

Independent, 2023

A debut EP with lots of promise and directions to follow.

Australian singer-songwriter Rhys Duursma’s debut solo EP starts with ‘Same Old’, a fairly routine piece of folk music, which mutates halfway through into a dusty mid-west tune thanks to a resonator guitar line that lifts the song into a different place altogether.

Duursma says that “since he was young his hope was that these songs, birthed in his quiet, melancholy inner world, could somehow become a conversation where together we explore our humanity and the things that unite us.” The expectation of this and the opening song is overturned by ‘Days Like These’ a full band electric song that shows off his rock band past. ‘Didn’t He’ takes us back to a more acoustic-based song with keyboards and voices drifting in the background to set it apart from the basic guitar song. At just over 5 minutes it has time to build up an intimate dreamy quality.

Hey Ma’ is another full-on Americana stomp, with violin and harmonica as the feature sounds this time. The violin feels a little intrusive behind the vocal and just leaving it for the solo might have been a better plan. ‘Charlie’s’ harmonium sound adds yet another instrumental colour to the mix over a violin line that is much more suitable on this song.

Last piece ‘Glenrowan’ is something different. Lightly brushed drums and a west coast guitar over treated vocals. This atmospheric tune would seem to be a product of his time spent travelling around Australia. Glenroawn is a town in Victoria.

As an introduction to Duursma’s music this shows off all sides of his writing and playing. It gives him several directions to pursue if he chooses, ‘Glenrowan’ and ‘Days Like These’ are the places where his musical personality stands out best. There are plenty of acoustic guitar players, but the textures he brings to the songs here mark him out as something more than just another singer-songwriter.

7/10
7/10

About Tim Martin 247 Articles
Sat in my shed listening to music, and writing about some of it. Occasionally allowed out to attend gigs.
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