Right from the off, two aspects that always draw me in to music stand out like a beacon on this album – the intelligence of the lyrics and the elemental imagery that they conjure. It is this blend of primal philosophy and poetic descriptions of the natural world that form the basis of the 12 songs found here. Being largely the product of voice and “ an old Spanish guitar” the clean lines and uncluttered nature of the music makes you focus on the message, the thought process and the simple yet dexterous and hypnotic patterns of the playing.
Even when a full band approach is called for it is done so by adding just the bare necessities, enough to drive the song without distracting from the wonderfully clean-limbed sound that Lewis has achieved here.
In an age when it seems anyone and everyone thinks that they can pick up a guitar, spout some meaningless lyrics and find an instant route to fame and fortune, From a Journal reminds us that there is so much more to it than that. In the lyrics there are age-old observations and personal revelations, ponderings on the nature of love and life, wistful reflections and hopes for the future. Musically without seeming to do too much, it is those peripheral sounds, mournful guitars that hang around the edge of the song, the occasional country shuffle and, more often than not, the sheer simplicity and craftsmanship of the “one man and a guitar” approach that make it stand out.
The result is an album that sounds like a lost, folk-revival classic, by someone who could have easily been a Paul Simon or a Bert Jansch but didn’t get the breaks. Thankfully this isn’t a recently unearthed, long forgotten curio but the work of a current, emerging artist and with a calling card this great he may one day join such hallowed ranks.