Luke Thomas I knew from his gig playing guitar with Gary Quinn at Country To Country last year, but Melanie Greggain is someone I didn’t know until her gorgeous voice heralded the start of Don’t Cry (Because It’s Over), the first track from Luke & Mel’s self titled debut EP. This opening track combines the country staple of a past relationship, but with a positive spin of good memories rather than sadness. Mel’s vocals are smooth and delicate, with just the right amount of emotion to keep it upbeat. Luke’s harmonies add a great depth to the chorus, and his guitar playing compliments the vocals perfectly. Written by themselves, this kind of acoustic track will always appeal to me, and is a fitting way to start.
The next three songs are co-written with Matt Greaves and Ann Bailey, who you may recognise from their writing credits on last year’s exceptional From Where We Stand by Ward Thomas. Somethin’ about a Woman has a definite air of Lady Antebellum, back when they were good, and manages to keep the soulful sound of Luke & Mel, but with a contemporary feel. This really is country music 101 about a man cheating on a woman, and is very catchy. While Don’t Cry I imagine being played in a small dimly let room, I see Somethin’ about a Woman being played on a big open air stage.
It’s back to the more ballad driven and acoustic, and for me better, sound for Never Greener. This is a song about reaching a point in a relationship where, in this case, the guy wants something different. It’s always the guy that gets the bad rap in songs, but maybe that’s just reflective of how it actually is in real life – stats anyone? Much like Don’t Cry, this has Mel driven vocals, which I’m beginning to think every song from here on out, by anyone, should have. With Luke’s harmonies and guitars, there are some piano parts which add an extra layer to a contemplative song that will surely resonate with a lot of people.
We finish off with Enjoy the ride which features Luke taking the lead vocal – it’s as if they haven’t just read my request about Mel 😉 If I’m being honest, which I always am, then I do prefer Mel having the lion’s share of the vocals, and I think for my preferences, I’d like to see Luke take some of the twang out of his voice. I still like the song, which with Don’t Cry, bookends this EP with positivity and a reminder to cherish and enjoy every moment.
On its launch Luke & Mel’s debut EP was only pipped to the number 1 spot on the iTunes Country Music chart by Dolly Parton and I can see why it charted so highly. I’ve listened to it 6 times today and am left wanting two things: to see Luke & Mel perform live, and to hear more of their songs. Luke and Mel are a winning combination musically and creatively, and I’m sure this is just the start on the road to success. You can get a physical copy of their EP from their website or you can download it on iTunes.