Charlie Winston is a chart topper. With a number one single under his belt, you’d expect to be familiar with the name of this English singer songwriter. The thing is, his success has largely been limited to France. And as his latest release, Running Still, gets its UK release it’s about time we cottoned on to this home grown talent.
The album clearly displays the breadth of Winston’s talents. There’s a whole variety of sounds on offer – from the up-beat dance feel of Wild Ones to the heartachingly beautiful lyrics and piano playing on She Went Quietly. It’s the sound of Unlike Me that seems familiar to me. Years ago I had my first dalliance with Winston at a showcase night at a club in Clapham. In fact, from 2007-09 it seemed either Winston or one of his siblings (the equally talented Tom Baxter and Vashti Anna) were the support acts at every gig I attended. Since then I’ve occasionally checked in on his progress and songs about ducks and hobos have been within my radar, but this album seems to be the first polished album to properly be given a chance to flourish in the UK.
There’s a catchiness to opener Hello Alone that comes as a surprise. The melody makes you smile and the narrative tells an interesting tale. Another twist comes with the out there Speak To Me where Winston uses every element of his voice to create a cacophony of noise which somehow forms the perfect background to layer his pleading lyrics on top of. Other highlights include the pensively written Making Yourself So Lonely and the quivering vocals on Lift Me Gently.
It’s about time Winston got his name recognised in the UK. This album is his best chance to date and I think he’ll be getting some airplay (I’m looking at you Radio 2) pretty soon. Running Still showcases the versatility of his songwriting, vocals and musical ability and is an antidote to the influx of over-manufactured and under-talented musicians who seem to be topping our charts of late. The French have great taste when it comes to wine, cheese and patisserie, so maybe we should take note?