After working for three years, in May this year Nick Mulvey finally released his first album The First Mind. Supporting the release of his recent single 'Cucurucu’, and with this Cambridge-born artist due to perform a sold-out gig at The Junction on Friday, there’s no better time to get to terms with his music.
Though Mulvey could be, and has been, brushed aside at first glance as just another folk singer strumming on an acoustic guitar, a listen to his music reveals that he is so much more than this. Influenced by his studies in Havana, Cuba, and his Ethnomusicology degree, his music draws together styles from all over the world, particularly Africa and Latin America. We hear this most noticeably in his wonderfully rhythmic guitar strumming – incorporation of latino rhythms see Mulvey move away from the well-trodden ground of the traditional acoustic guitar singer-songwriter. His music's guitar back bone is fleshed out with gorgeous arrangements. We hear violin, drums, synths, harmoniums, celeste, piano, and chimes – soaring above is Mulvey's voice, laden with an utterly distinctive, warm hum.
Having been touring First Mind for some time, it was autumn last year that Mulvey peformed at a colourfully illuminated Emmanuel United Reformed Church. With fellow singer-songwriters RHODES and Fiona Bevan supporting, it made for an intimate, moving gig. Support this Friday comes from Cambridge-born James Page, who performs under his stage name Sivu– this show, though in a bigger environment, promises to be equally, if not more, enchanting.
Mulvey has a remarkable skill in creating songs that build, drawing listeners ever deeper into layers of music. Rhythmic looping and the gentle piling up of instruments are coupled with alliterative lyrics in 'Meet Me There' – ‘people picking people picking people apart’.
Sophie and the man himself – Image Credit: Roisin Beck-Taylor
It isn’t surprisingly given the emotional nature of his album that Mulvey described song writing and performing, in a recent interview with The Cambridge News, as ‘not a thinking thing’ but rather ‘an instinctual thing’. This notion is reflected in the beautifully enchanting strumming and humming in ‘April’, ethereal singing in ‘Alisa Craig’ and the blend of Mulvey’s voice with the violin in ‘The Trellis’. This Friday, with any luck, will see the songwriter bring his unique blend of heartbreak and careful musical arrangement to wow The Cambridge Junction.
Nick Mulvey’s album ‘The First Mind’ is available to buy from stores nationwide – find it in the (incredibly awesome) independent music store next to the large Sainsbury’s for £7. Mulvey takes to the stage of The Junction on Friday 17th October.