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Jimmy Needham - Clear the Stage
Last modified: 02 Mar 2012

Jimmy Needham - Clear the Stage
Buy 'Clear the Stage'
There has been a little bit of a theme in my reviews of Jimmy Needham, always describing him as having a Jack Johnson vocal sound coming through and the last two albums I described as having the perfect summer sound with their funky beats. Was I trying to pigeonhole Jimmy? It looks I have been and I'm sorry about that, but does his new album Clear The Stage continue that sound? Well, I'll tell you that answer in a short moment.

Needham released his debut album, 'Speak', in 2006, followed by 'Not Without Love' in 2008 and his third album 'Nightlights' in 2010, but now Jimmy is releasing his fourth album, 'Clear The Stage'. Produced by Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Laura Story, Dave Barnes, Aaron Shust) the ten-track album features guest vocals from Hip Hop star Lecrae.



So back to the original question, has this new album moved away from the funk summer feel-good sound that we have become used to with Jimmy Needham? The answer is both yes and no! There is still a proportion of the album which does have this sound, and a sound that Jimmy does so well, especially in the opening Maroon 5 inspired 'I will Find You' and the swaying funk beats of 'Arrows'. Then there is the Paolo Nutini sounding track 'Daddy's Baby Girl' which is about the birth of the singers new baby girl and is a beautiful song to sing about his new daughter and how it makes him feel.

Then there is a part of this album which has its big pop rock songs like My Victory and If I Ever Needed Grace, which are songs about Jimmy and his relationship with God. Two very strong songs on the album. But the place where Jimmy takes this album to a whole new level is with the songs that see him at his most vulnerable. This sees Jimmy dig deep to a place of true honesty with the trails and tribulations that he has sadly had to go through, in songs like Rock Bottom and In the Middle.

As a whole the album contains some of Jimmy's most heartfelt and powerful songs to date, that show that Jimmy as a songwriter has grown so much even since the last album. 

Where I might have expected this album to sound like I thought it might, it really doesn't. Still with the style and swagger of previous releases but with a lot more maturity in the songwriting. For example Stay is a stunning piece of work, with the song 
sounding like Ed Sheeran. Jimmy plays a simple acoustic guitar beautifully making this song a real treat to listen to, whatever the weather. Overall this album has plenty going on and with each listen has grown on me. A top quality recording this one.

Review by Jono Davies

Standout Tracks
In The Middle
Daddy's Baby Girl
I Will Find You
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