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Review: I'd Send You My Heart by Chris St. John

You think you've heard every background story a musician could possibly have, and then a new story appears to surprise and delight you. Chris St. John is a former judge who has spent twenty six years in the legal profession, but has now decided to follow his passion for music. Over the course of those years he has composed a number of excellent songs that tell some of the stories, joys and hardships of his personal life with exquisite beauty. He has brought these together on his gorgeous debut album I'm Dreaming, released earlier this year. I'd Send You My Heart is the stunning closing track to the album that combines all the melancholy of his song-writing style into a simple but perfectly formed ballad.

Telling the story of a lost loved one, the track approaches a theme that is familiar and relatable with a deeply personal touch. While the references to texting and the nature based metaphors feel tangible, they also clearly portray a very specific meaning to Chris St. John. This is made even more evident in his vocal performance which strikes a balance between the fragile, immediately emotive tones of a singer like Damien Rice and the breathy, reflective tones of someone like Nick Drake.

The song is a wonderfully bitter-sweet tune that sits on the bridge between folk and country. There's clearly influences from British folk artists like Donovan and Bert Jansch, as well as singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen and James Taylor. The sombre melodies have some influence from country, but the way the guitar lines and the string sections fold into each other feels more typical of folk music. It's an incredibly atmospheric track, evoking not only an ethereal ambience but also the wide open landscapes, both of which are referenced in the lyrics. That in itself is rather remarkable, and to be able to craft a piece that so closely evokes it's lyrics with such simple elements shows a very strong musical perception.

There's a real authenticity to the track that shouldn't come as a surprise given Chris St. John's background and his reasons for creating his music. There isn't any other motive here other than to express some deep feelings and experiences in the form of strikingly intimate music. It makes for an incredibly refreshing listen, and one that only goes to show that music is an artform driven as much by emotion as it is by skill.

You can check out Chris St. John and his music at the links below:

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