Chris St. John Presents ‘With You’ Available Fri. Jan 19th

Anything that immediately reminds you of James Taylor can only be a good thing, right? Too right! Now, I’m not saying that Chris is in any way a tribute act, plundering or plagiarising the sonic wares of that iconic singer-songwriter, far from it. But you can hear the same qualities in this collection of songs that made Taylor’s music so timeless.

The songs are tastefully crafted, mature yet accessible, and the more balladic numbers especially, such as “Don’t Ask Me” and “When Leaves Begin To Fall,” have the feeling that you have been listening to and treasuring them all your life. If that isn’t the sign of a classic song in the making, then I don’t know what is.

Even when he hits a more upbeat stride, such as on the title track or “Over Me,” there is still something graceful to be found in the delivery of these acoustic-driven songs. His ability to build often delicate, always deftly constructed songs finds him standing tall in a world where the singer-songwriter is ubiquitous. But most of the competition doesn’t have a fraction of the skills or sensitivity, taste, or talent that Chris St John has. Many of them never will.