Lee Westwood - To Sleep (CD self released)

As a young acoustic guitar player in Brighton, Lee has provided some of the highlights of the shows around town. His fluid finger-picking hints at greats like Bert Jansch (as on 'Calamity'). His work treads circuitous paths through jazz, Celtic and folk traditions, all with his trademark sound- the sudden flights of fancy that scamper up and down scales, finally finding a resting point to explore. His ability to meld shapes and lines is flawless.

The instrumental album, largely solo acoustic guitar with the occasional flute accompaniment, is perfect summer fare - good natured, bright and one that takes pleasure in running through tall fields of crops. The day is done; the work is good.

If there is a criticism to be made, it's the lack of any sense of regret or longing. There is no weight to it. Maybe that will come with age and experience? The album makes no apologies for being uplifting, sunny and immaculately played. One of the more adventurous tracks, 'Hell is Full of Angels'' has a fine movement and flow to it, punctuated by harmonic notes and changes of pace, like taking the winding road through the countryside.

The immaculate artwork by Adam Oehlers is worth seeing. Rather like a fairytale version of Arthur Rackham's drawings it's detailed, squiggly and always a pleasure to see. The song 'Dear Little Emmie' is based on Adam's drawings and short story of the same name. Adam has done a drawing for each of the 12 tracks on the album. Busy chap. His partner, Nom Chomski (ha!), paints in a different way but is very much of the same world. She's been pencilled-in to do the artwork for Lee's next album. Cripes, it just gets better and better.  HM

Contact : www.lee-westwood.com