John Shade: Little Heart

When I listen to John Shade’s album All You Love Is Need, I hear bits and pieces of so many artists that I love. There’s his low register and lyrical moments similar to Fionn Regan. His sometimes-joyful guitar strumming reminiscent of Matt Costa’s early work. And on “Little Heart,” I even hear a bit of Laura Marling-ish cadence spring forward. Loudon Wainwright and Paul Simon sometimes emerge as well. Shade keeps the melodies simple, just a guy and his guitar/piano and some sparse accompaniment (drums and bass), which makes it even more remarkable that All You Love Is Need stays compelling from start to finish. There are the occasional fun flourishes — a weeping stringed instrument, some celebratory horns — but it never detracts from Shade’s unique delivery and gift for evoking other really talented artists but still shaping his own sound.

The album was recorded at Bon Iver’s studio in the fall of 2009.

And even better? All You Need Is Love is available for free download here. You can also make a donation if you like. Whether it’s time or coinage you invest — or both — I promise you won’t regret it. Sample some here. Another brand new song that you won’t find on that album is also available below. It’s called “Here I Am,” and it makes good use of the Neave Quartet and Zachariah Hickman for a swelling, swaying song about being hurt.

All You Love Is Need Cover ArtA lovely performance by Shade and The Neave Quartet from the wonderful rslblog.com.

John Shade by The Wounded Jukebox

–Sean

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