What Tomorrow Knows – The context
There are situations that bring out the raw in great artists to fascinating consequences but not always great avail. In the middle of COVID lockdown, Fiona Apple brought us her version of raw that bewitched the critics while dividing her audience, even alienating a chunk of it. The artist unfiltered by alien production and incessantly poked and grazed by their context might show a face too strange for those who thought they were familiar with them.
What Tomorrow Knows – The consistency
This is not the case for musician Steve Pledger. There is nothing in his sound that betrays a face he has not shown before. And the situations that he and a lot of us have lived through have not diminished his sensitive touch in this raw delivery. They have only made him deeper and closer to his beliefs. So if you like it authenticity, integrity and consistency, Steve Pledger is your man and this album the sound you will want to listen to.
What Tomorrow Knows – The growth
Saying that an artist is consistent is sometimes mistaken for saying that their output is always the same. This is not correct as Steve Pledger here demonstrates. His consistency is in his values and the quality of his output. They can never blind us to the growth of the artist and the growth of the person that are both transparent throughout this oeuvre. Whether it is the context or his particular environment that have the most input in birthing the overall feeling that emanates from these songs does not matter, the heartstrings that are hooked.
What Tomorrow Knows – The fighter and the lover
One of the beauties of this album is that it is unencumbered by frills. That frees the ears so they can grasp and wallow in its depth. Right in the themes raised in the lyrics, you recognise the fighter and the lover all at once. The music artist addresses topical subjects with passion, even letting out the occasional swear word. On his first single Salt From The Sea, he looks at Brexit, Britain’s infamous exit from the European Union. You also recognise that lover-fighter in the tracks The Stagehand’s Tale and Blabscam. In Rise, even before the Itunu choir joins in, the melody and the lyrics about the cost of complacency had already done the main job of raising awareness of a state of mind far too common
What Tomorrow Knows – The reflective dreamer
But underneath the fighter and lover, the reflective dreamer cannot hide. His vision of a better world, his sensitivity can only betray the gaps that separate us frm it. This is obvious in the way he serenades us to the awareness that our tendency to be waiting to exhale is in effect Waiting To Hurt.
This is vivid in Fields That Sitll Divide, Lay Them Down, and clear as he closes on an aspiring message (Hope in Our Hands). But it is also in the way he evolves not barely to change as time dictates but to emancipate his own thinking self-introspectively.
What Tomorrow Knows – The man in the mirror
The singer-songwriter has found a way to infuse all aspects of his personal and professional growth in every track and in the album as a whole. This made it impossible to pick a favourite song as was possible in Steve Pledger’s previous releases. It almost happened at the sound of Revelation. The heartfelt pleading just played on my heartstring long after the song was over. But so did his reflection on misoginy in Sister Dear, his incessant plead for the importance to make our voices heard, espepecially in the face of injustice (The Baptist’s Father)…
What Tomorrow Knows – The voice
Like I said, the singer-songwriter is consistent so I do recognise his voice, both audibly and metaphorically. But there is no doubt that his growth transpires in it. Listening to him, we feel even closer than before to the journey that has led him to these views, to these feelings, to this album. And that, in itself is beautiful and endears you even more so to the words and the melodies he offers in this release.
What Tomorrow Knows – The album
What Tomorrow Knows is a contemporary Folk / Acoustic singer-songwriter album released on Pledger’s own label Noisy Dog Records on 28th November 2022. The album is available from stevepledger.co.uk on CD and Download NOW and on sale on CD at all upcoming live shows. A special launch concert took place at Durham Town Hall on 8th October.
Musicians on What Tomorrow Brings
The main performer is of course Steve Pledger who appears on acoustic guitars and on vocals, All songs are written by Steve Pledger. A usual suspect of the English contemporary Folk scene is Lukas Drinkwater. The musician plays the drums, the bass, the electric guitars and the piano on the release. There is also Aaron Catlow on strings and fiddle, Nigel Neill playing the organ and John Heslop on sax and clarinet.
What Tomorrow Knows – Tracks
- The Baptist’s Father (4:50)
- Fields That Still Divide (5:17) n.b. Includes the words s***’
- 3) Salt From the Sea (5:24)
- 4) Lay Them Down (2:59)
- 5) Revelation (5:26)
- Sister, Dear (3:47)
- Same Smile, Same Words (4:18)
- Waiting To Hurt (4:59)
- The Stagehand’s Tale(4:31)
- Blabscam (3:48) n.b. Includes the word ‘b******d’.
- Rise (3:19)
- Hope In Our Hands (7:42)
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PS: Yesterday it was Rise, today it is Waiting to Hurt. Every day I listened to the album, it was a different song, even within the same day. Therefore I abandoned the idea of having a favourite song.