Dutch singer / songwriter Stefan Schill is one of the youngest musicians ever signed by Provogue Records, something you can tell from the cover, where he tries for James Dean and ends up with something out of Twilight. But that's soon forgotten when you start playing the CD, for it is absolutely magnificent. You can hear what get the label excited, as he comes on like a Euro John Mayer, something that won't be to everyones taste, but is guaranteed to gain him wider exposure than your average Bluesman.
Although the music is rooted in the Blues, he's aiming right for the mainstream, with polished edges and smooth melodies, even admitting that though "he will always cherish and play the Blues he also learned to appreciate all the other aspects of music. Blues ain't nothing but a good chapter in the story of music." Something that will alienate some of his potential audience, but it's a chance he's decided to take.
He says he's influenced by people like Prince, The Police, D'Angelo and the Kings Of Leon but, thankfully, it doesn't show as a lot of this album is straight out of the seventies blue eyed soul and Blues world, with songs like 'Take On My Beliefs', 'Game Called Love' and 'Any Direction' absolute delights. When he does take steps into the modern world it does all fall a bit flat, so I won't be returning to 'U Don't Mind' and 'It's Gonna Be Alright' in any great hurry. However, the album is well produced and played, with the splashes of keyboard colour from Bob Fridzema well judged.
For a debut release, it more than does the job, so keep an eye out for young Master Schill.
Well now, this is one helluva class act - make no mistake!
As the previous reviewers have indicated, this young man has made one very fine album and has certainly set a fire under the people running Provogue - and they know a thing or two about the blues.
I think I would liken this album to the kind produced by Jonny Lang (circa LIE TO ME) in that musically, it is head and shoulders above what is being bandied around as being blues and, when considering the man's few years on planet Earth, he has a very mature, sophisticated and very soulful approach that holds your attention throughout! Brilliant!
The songcraft is spot on and the playing while very much down in the mix, shows a very capable guitarist indeed. And his voice is not half bad either - covering a fair range too.
The opening track "Any Direction" with it's highly infectious riff sets the standard for what follows and there is more than enough variance within the collection of songs here to ensure that the album stays stuck in your player and you never feel the need to press 'skip' at any time....it really is that good
Buy it yourself and you'll discover that 21st century blues is alive and well and living within Stefan Schill.
on 9 June 2010
One thing is for certain, Blues is in great form in the 21st century judging by the wealth of young talent coming through. Oli Brown has made a big enough splash, then you've got Mitch Laddie, Virgil & The Accelerators coming through. And not to be left out, Stefan Schill is throwing in the hat for Holland.
Okay, maybe not the guitar fireworks you get from Oli and co, but this lad knows his way round a guitar, and is superbly backed on keyboards. The songs are smooth and mature, vocals have a confident spark. All in all, a damn good debut.