It’s been a few years in the making, but Tenderfoot have now released their debut EP, appropriately named Beginnings.
In the six-song record front man John Vella draws influence from acts new and old to create a cruisy, rockin’ roots vibe that sounds like a stripped back Bob Dylan or The Band, coupled with the vocals of Chris Martin before Coldplay went full Top 40.
Tenderfoot aren’t newcomers, they’ve been playing gigs for years and their experience is obvious in their story-driven debut EP Beginnings
It’s the kind of music that’s perfect to listen to early on a chilly autumn Sunday morning with a coffee in hand after a Saturday night of one too-many cocktails. It is cruisy, relaxing, and a bit therapeutic.
This project is all about performance-based music for the band. Vella has said in interviews how he loves that each Tenderfoot show is different, and they feel that the music is more alive when you aren’t sticking to the same structure with each performance.
They approached the EP studio time with this in mind, thinking of it as a performance to carry the creativity into the recordings. Stranger’s Love opens the EP and is a real highlight of the record. Suckers for a sweet banjo line (which is everyone) will pop a smile right off the bat.
The snazzy little line holds down the laid back rhythm of the piece, allowing for Vella’s folksy voice to croon gently over the top.
The Scenery is the emotional summit of the EP, as Vella’s vulnerable lyrics and exposed vocals carry a message from a difficult time in his life. A thousand sappy “take me back” songs exist out there, but Vella manages to avoid the cheese here. His nostalgic tone and vocal gymnastics showing off a steady falsetto are sure to win you over.
Vella continues the storytelling theme in The Balcony Tale, where he laments of a relationship that started out perfectly but slowly fell apart. The simple, delicate piano line conveys the feelings of regret towards the end of the song as it enters a call and response theme with Vella as he sings, “A better man would have walked away”.
The EP demonstrates a musical maturity, surely gained from Tenderfoots extensive live experience.
It’s release was accompanied by a single, intimate live show in Sydney on the weekend. If you missed out on it, don’t lament – the band is already well into the next stage with a promising full album in the works.
A trip to Abbey Road studios is lined up for September, where they’ll be working with production heavyweight Julian Emery, who’s previously worked with Nothing But Thieves.