Reprise Records – 2005 – 58 minutes

Scottish/American singer-songwriter Johnathan Rice's debut album is as diverse as they come and should ensure that people quickly become familiar with his sound.

After the largely instrumental opener, 'Trouble Is Real' gets off to a nice start with the almost orchestral 'Mid November'. The next two, 'Kiss Me Goodbye' and 'So Sweet', ratchet up the tempo a good bit, before it slows again for 'Break So Easy'. With rock, folk and country tones, this is certainly a roller coaster of an album.

Part of the intrigue of the collection is in Rice's voice. It's both airy and forceful and lends itself well to the rock as well as the gentler aspects of the album. Unfortunately though, the collection is quite heavy on production, so Rice's vocal isn't showcased as well as it could have been.

'Trouble Is Real' is a bit over-long at 16 tracks and some of them do tend to blend together, but 'Mid November', 'Lady Memphis', 'Stay At Home' and 'I Wouldn't Miss It For The World' are among the best Rice has to offer here.

Keep a listen out for Rice; it won't be long before he makes it big.

Katie Moten

Tracklisting: Short Song For Strings – Mid November – Kiss Me Goodbye – So Sweet – Break So Easy – Lady Memphis – Behind The Frontlines – My Mother's Son – Leave The Light On – City On Fire – Put Me In Your Holy War – Salvation Day – Stay At Home – The Acrobat – Hickory Wind (Outro) – I Wouldn't Miss It For The World