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Dai Jeffries of R2 (RocknReel)

reviews Looking Both Ways by George Papavgeris

George Papavgeris is a songwriter and singer that other songwriters and singers tip their metaphorical hats to. This is his eighth album and the chances are you’ve never heard of him. I certainly hadn’t until a couple of years ago. George is Greek by birth and English by residence. His music carries the sounds of the eastern Mediterranean and the feel of a British folk club with enough of an accent to sound exotic and distinctive.

If you want to know why he’s so admired, two songs in this set will convince you. The first is ‘Daniel & Ayse’, the story of two teenagers whose love ignores the religious divide between them. It’s simple, moving, a modern take on a story that’s centuries old. The second is ‘Thieves Of Innocence’ about the forced use of children as soldiers – you know where. The other aspect of George’s songwriting is the observation of ordinary lives and ‘Love Of A Sort’ and ‘Street Life’ are both scenes from life’s play.

The supporting cast includes Paul Sartin and Pete Flood, whose hand percussion is key to the feel of the music, with Vicki Swan’s bass and Jonny Dyer’s keyboards essential ingredients. Above all, however, stands George Papavgeris and his songs.