• Bryon Harris

Sharam Gill - ‘The Cautionary Tale of Cox McQueen'

Sharam Gill has released a new CD titled ‘The Cautionary Tale of Cox McQueen’ produced by Philip Lane. Previously signed to Red Kite Records, Gill put the album out on his own label. Gill’s latest work is a concept album with each song collectively telling the story of Cox who is a struggling artist trying to make a turnaround. Through 13 songs, Gill dives into the conflicted emotions of this artist. Each song is a poetic slice of life, sometimes raw and brutally honest and at other times a bit mysterious. In each song, great care is given to the score to capture the mood and essence of the character in the moment. Sharam has a wonderful voice that is articulate and clear which is important for music that dives deeply into storytelling.

“Heather Makes Her Face” (track 2 on the CD) is a waltz in 6/8 time, but is not your ordinary, light-footed waltz. With a strong hook in the chorus, the song is slightly melancholy vibe with deep bass. The lyrics tell us that the good times don't last and that’s alright. A woman looks out a window with a slight smile on her face that fades.

Silver Gown and Golden Vest has an exuberant vibe. Cox is getting dressed up to convince himself that he’s the star he knows he can be - the music follows suit by getting dressed up as well with a carnival of sounds and textures. “Be what you want to be” is the message. Put it all out there and don’t hold back, but once you do - there's no turning back.

Mid-way through the album is the song “Lovers for The Weak.” This song starts with a very lovely jazz feel that complements Sharam’s voice. The percussion is light and easy. Sharam showcases his vocal flexibility with a nice, smooth R & B tone that works very well. The track suddently changes up with a more rockin’ feel. The music goes back and forth between the smooth jazz vibe to the breakout rockin’ chorus for a presentation that’s engaging and never predictable.

Jagged Lines is notable as the song has two narratives. This song opens with a dialogue. A voice tells us that he has received letters from people who “love him so much, they want to kill him…what’s that about?” Light drumming and percussive instruments along with a melodic flute lead the way. into a solitary world. In Jagged Lines, lonliness and depression are explored. “Jagged lines cut through my mind and some I can’t ignore.” A newscaster announces that a man looks thin, pale and is naked on the rooftop. We hear sirens swirling. With imaginative musical word painting, the texture becomes manic with electronic elements that literally sound like electric shock waves cutting through the mind.

Carol and Jones opens with a mysterious, haunting sound and a distant chime. It sounds like a windy night. Sharam enters singing, “Here lie the bones of Carol and Jones.” In this song, there is a “beast” and “it will draw you in.” Solemn chords on the piano and a mandolin make for a sombre feel. The mood and rhythm pickup as the song progresses. Hand drums add a groove. In the end, “the beast” seems to be your own thoughts. “Hear what you will. Hear what you want.”

‘The Cautionary Tale of Cox McQueen’ is music for the mind and the ear. The poetic, raw story sung by an articulate and polished vocal performance will leave you with much food for thought; you may feel like you just sat at a night at the theater. The diverse variety of the arrangement, filled with layers of musical texture and nuance, will feed your musical ear with something refreshingly unqiue to dive into.

For more information on Sharam, please visit his website.

#SharamGillTheCautionaryTaleofCoxMcQueen #IndieMusicReviews