Soul folk songwriter Monty Bevins brings a poignant but hopeful body of work titled Traveller. Reminiscent of Jack Johnson, the writing style that weaves throughout this EP takes the best elements of simplicity and insightful perspective and creates an excellent introduction to Bevins.

The title track feels like the prologue to a novel filled with tunes inspired by the world in which Monty works, lives and travels through. ‘Hard Ship’ is a storytelling highlight with phrasing and cleverly chosen lyrics that sits the listener in the palm of Bevins’ hand. As he sings, “Faces on all the older people in town, looking like the life had been sucked right out,” it’s clear that Bevins doesn’t only focus on the prettier aspects of life. He sees the grit, the dirt and the lonely and isn’t afraid to write about it.

Monty’s distinct guitar takes a leading role in, ‘Country Slow,’ a song of movement and change. “Toot, toot, gonna take me a train,” is a catchy little line that often resurfaces in my brain after listening to Traveller, but it’s the lyrics such as, “Two tickets, for me and my soul,” that really makes this song shine.

‘Or Is It Just Me,’ is one for the observers of the world and is a tune I’m certain many over-thinkers will find themselves in. My personal favourite comes in last but not least in ‘Lovers Again.’ A song written about a couple that Bevins met in Arthur’s Pass. The song explores how love transforms
after the bittersweet experience of watching children leave the nest. A delicate and arguably uncommon topic to sing about, Bevins writes, “Mother of my baby girls, I’ve been thinking… We could go back to when… back to when, we were lovers again,” A surefire tearjerker to any particularly romantic listeners.

There’s no doubt this five track E.P will delight Monty’s current audience and allow new hearts to fall for his warmth and wit. I haven’t yet had the privilege of watching Monty live, but this EP truly made me feel as if I was in the front row. This is real, raw folk music that we all need and is a gentle reminder of, “how lucky are we to be born at all.”

(JENNY MITCHELL)

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