This EP acts as a companion to this year's 'Easy Tiger', but is just as good as a stand-alone disc. In fact, it clocks in just a few minutes short of 'Easy Tiger's 40 minutes so in terms of value for money, this is definitely worth it.
The version of 'Everybody Knows' is the same as the album version so the new material starts from track two, 'Follow the Lights'. This track is light and breezy, not one of his best but it's okay. 'My Love For You is Real' too, is not going to blow you away, though it's good, with the same light feeling as 'Follow the Lights'.
Where the EP really kicks off is on the live in studio tracks. The disc really captures the feeling of the Cardinals at the moment, mellow and easy. 'Blue Hotel' is a live staple, but this is as close to a studio version as we'll get since Ryan gave the song to Willie Nelson for his 'Songbird' album. Both 'This Is It' and 'If I Am a Stranger' put a different spin on their album versions, giving a slower, more introspective and sentimental version than the upbeat album tracks. 'Down In a Hole' and 'Dear John' both highlight how good the trade-off between Ryan and Neal's vocals are, 'Dear John' especially. Their voices complement each other perfectly. 'Down In a Hole' is a nice surprise too; Alice in Chains fans are probably sceptical, but Ryan does the song justice. He puts so much emotion into his vocal performance, and though it's not better than the original, it keeps the essence of the AIC version and adds a tinge of alt-country.
The EP is excellent, both in terms of musicianship and sound quality, but I've given it a four because there's only one new track here. 'My Love For You is Real' is an old, old song, and obviously the in-studio tracks are old too. Having a recorded version of 'Blue Hotel' and 'Down In a Hole' is brilliant though. If you like your music slow and mellow then this is a fantastic disc and well worth the £5 asking price.