A singer-songwriter from the Northeast of England, Joe Ramsey has had backing from BBC Introducing and local radio, as well as a Spotlight feature in The Unsigned Guide. His 2014 single ‘Time’ hit the UK top 40 in the iTunes singer-songwriter chart and he has recently performed at Hit The North Festival, alongside Jake Bugg, Tom Grennan and Shame. Ramsey’s latest release is ‘Stop & Start’, a melancholic, heartfelt musical gesture.
Displaying Ramsey’s clear songwriting prowess, ‘Stop & Start’ has strong vocals and structured melodies, drawing comparisons to John Mayer and Ben Howard. “I can’t just sit there and accept it / I have to work it out” sings Ramsey in the highly catchy chorus where harmonies float above the lead line, reinforcing the song’s overall message. “I stop and I start and I pause for you / I wait my turn but it’s overdue” are the first lines of the chorus, though, for me, it feels as though this could be repeated. The chorus is great, so It’d be even better if we could stay there a while. Keys sit gently in the mix, building on the emotive picture being painted, while the “ooohs” that ring out throughout are well layered, soulful and turn a solid track into a festival singalong.
The track breakdown comes in at around 3:15, with palm-muted guitar that rings out as the final chorus approaches. Once again, I want more of the lead vocal line. The track ends on the “ooohs” that brought it in; perhaps the addition of the main chorus line ringing from left to right would have given the piece a celebratory close.
Despite my critique, ‘Stop & Start’ is a great example of a song by a tried and tested commercial singer-songwriter. Joe Ramsey’s back catalogue is strong but what I would like to hear now is a full band – some gritty electric guitar beefing up choruses alongside a full kit, with Joe at the helm.
Words by Lewis Abbott @LewisAbbott_
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