CD Review: Lilly Winwood – Time Well Spent
by Antony Bailey for Country Music News International
Lilly Winwoods’ debut album Time Well Spent was released in January earlier this year and it has been a success with her budding international fan base. The album could be best described as anguish tinged with a hint of optimism as Winwood explores her life and places a lot of her own personal experiences into the lyrical content. The 25-year-old singer-songwriter originally hails from the Gloucestershire countryside in southwest England before permanently relocating to her family’s home in Nashville to be alongside likeminded people with similar goals and objectives. Winwoods’ sound is constantly evolving and pushing the boundaries of country music whilst proudly flying the Union Jack high as she offers a British twist to music deeply immersed within Southern American roots.
A delicately balanced song both instrumentally and vocally where the dynamics gradually increase during the choruses and as the song reaches its climax. There is a music video to the song that can be found on various online platforms as well as an acoustic arrangement of the original song.
The song is relatively slow in tempo and the reverb creates an eery effect to contribute towards a narrative that reflects on previous experiences whilst the rhythm section pushes the song without changing the feel or the emotion that is present within the lyrics and throughout the track itself.
Few More Records 3:28
The song is a combination of country, folk, blues, and rock and my favourite song on the album. It is a song that will resonate with a lot of people as it is about spending a lot of time alone and being on the road. ‘’Middle of nowhere and I am lonely as well, got no reason to go and got no reason to stay’’ can be taken literally or metaphorically and depicts an image of instability and uncertainty which is something we can all relate to recently.
One Big Sky 3:34
It is a song about being on the road and is quite similar to the previous song in terms of timbre, structure, meter, and lyrics. The track reminded of ‘’Ho Hey’’ by The Lumineers in terms of the notation and instrumentation. The augmented notes depict an image of being in the open country and the lyrics ‘’I won’t be home for the summer’’ could literally be about spending her summers in Nashville away from her country home in Gloucestershire.
The song takes a step back in tempo but does not lack energy from an instrumental and lyrical perspective. The reverb and augmented notation create what feels like a ballad as Winwood showcases her tessitura as the use of vocal inflections causes her voice to fluctuate by hitting lower and higher notes in both the verse and chorus. This creates a raw energy and sentiment in the music that is hard to describe when listening to the song itself.
The longest song on the album and very sensitive in the manner that the song has been approached. ‘’Got hooked on a lot now I’m broken inside’’ is about drug addiction and not wanting to suffer anymore. The dynamics increase slightly in the chorus and guitar solo as Winwoods’ voice soars in the choruses as she demonstrates what she is capable of. She is able to take a softer approach whilst being able to attack the vocal delivery with more force whilst remaining delicate in her approach.
The song is about somebody who is or will remain nameless throughout the song and contains an eight-bar saxophone solo before returning to the chorus. The album has given Winwood the license the explore music whilst simultaneously joining other up-and-coming artists in pushing the boundaries and constant evolution of country music.
Smell of Defeat 3:53
‘’Tossed and he turned’’ is about a sleepless night and a broken relationship. ‘’I can’t stand the smell of defeat’’ is the refrain in the chorus and will definitely strike a chord with her audience who are able to resonate with her lyrics. ‘’Turn a new leaf, find another flame’’ is about starting a new chapter and meeting new people but the old sentiments will always be there in the distance.
A 6/8 meter along with shuffled rhythm, guitar licks and a soaring vocal melody pushes the song into territory that reminds me of blues and blue grass. The song is about being seventeen and deceiving her parents whilst trying to be independent and rebellious which is something most of us can relate to. The song hits the spot for anybody looking for a country blues crossover with a modern twist.
One Step Behind 3:56
Slightly faster in tempo and another heartfelt song mixed with sorrow and despair. The meter returns to 4/4 and the song itself can be open to interpretation amongst the listeners who are able to take something different away from the song be it in the music or the lyrics.
You’ll Know Where To Find Me 4:00
A delicate piece of music from start to finish as the drums are almost entirely omitted from the music and the instruments used include a banjo and a violin. The music oozes raw emotion and certainly tugs the heartstrings from track one to eleven. I would recommend the album to all country fans be it new or experienced as Lilly Winwood takes a taste of Gloucestershire to Nashville and showcases the influence country music has had on other parts of the world.