FOR EVERYTHING A SEASON - GITTA DE RIDDER
LCM ALBUM OF THE WEEK
- Artist: Gitta de Ridder
- Release Date: 23rd March, 2018
- Genre: Singer-*Songwriter, Contemporary Folk
- Record Label: Little Memories Records
- Tracks: 12 (+ 1 bonus track)
- Website: https://www.gittaderidder.com
- Review By: Gary Smith (LCM)
'For Everything A Season' is the wonderful new second album from Dutch born singer-songwriter Gitta de Ridder. It's a collection of four seasonal EPs, that stand as a metaphor for the cycles we move through in life. It is the eagerly awaited follow-up to her well received debut album 'Feathers' which was released back in 2016. The album is very high quality and wonderfully presented. I think it's Gitta's best and strongest work to date, showcasing a gift for a memorable hook and a pop sensibility coupled with wonderful lyrical and musical complexity. The deluxe box set which we highly recommend contains four 4 EP CDs plus the album in a presentation box together with fold out page lyric booklet/mini poster.
The marvelous arrangements and production on the album perfectly suit the feel and themes of the album and never overpowers Gitta vocals or her rich, heartfelt and emotive songwriting. Gitta wrote all the songs on the album and plays guitar and piano. Co-producer and Gitta's friend Stephen Hodd plays additional instruments and provides further backing vocals.
The songs on 'For Everything a Season' are themed about our journey and experiences through life and relationships. The first three songs of 'Spring' are about beginnings, starting anew and letting go. The 'Summer' tracks about the blossoming of love and whether that is our main driving force. While 'Autumn' tracks revolve around the inevitable changes that come with new relationships leading you into 'Winter', representing finding calm and peace in hard times and heartbreak. The deluxe version of the album also features the bonus track 'Baby Darling Blue' which opens with a lovely xylophone solo before Gitta sings the most delectable lullaby you will ever hear.
"Recording the album in a lovely Suffolk country cottage along the river Deben with my friend and musical inspiration ‘Stephen Hodd’ was a bit of a dream come true for me and something I’d wanted to do for a long time. Some additional instruments were recorded later on in the recording process such as the bass, percussion and string elements. But as with ‘Feathers’, my first album, we mainly worked around an initial live-take of each song with me playing the guitar and singing, then building on that. I’m also very excited to at times feature Stephen’s singing and guitar playing on this record. Though I’ve tried to keep the themes of the songs quite universal some of the songs are also hugely personal. As humans, we understand other peoples experiences, and through sharing these, we often benefit from that feeling of being understood and supported – what better way to share this than through music. If I have any hopes for this album, it would be just that… For it to fly out and find some people who feel supported by the words somehow, or feel inspired, or for it to just simply bring a good musical-friend to someone’s life". Gitta x
The tender and reflective 'My Dear, Oh Boy, Oh Man' opens the album. Rythmic and gentle with soft finger picked acoustic guitar. A tale of lost love and letting go, about finding the strength to move on. The atmospheric 'These Hands' continues the theme of self reflection and relationships "You can't build a castle out of sand upon the promise of a handsome man". 'Restless as A Bird' is another wonderful piece of contemporary folk from Gitta. Soft and floating like a bird soaring high on thermals. A song about being restless and looking to change your life for better. "Take me somewhere new....take me far away.....Let us fly and make these restless skies our home".
'Knowing a Ghost' explores new relationships, getting to know each other both the good and the bad. Reading your lover the like pages of a book...until you know them by heart. With its metronome backing 'Here's the Plan' conveys the passing of time. It has the feel of a beautiful lullaby and a lovely hook on the chorus. It also includes some lovely cello by Simon Lewis. Another wonderful song is the beautiful written and personal 'All Is Love'. With its memorable hook, it is a sharply observed multi-layered song with some razor-sharp bottle-neck blues guitar adding extra edge.
Opening the Autumn set with it's soft strummed guitar is the gentle, personal and heartfelt 'I Would'. A song to float and drift away to. One of my favourite tracks on the album is the mega catchy 'The Wheel'. A song with a great hook that stays in your head for days. It's also wonderful live and comes with a really fun and clever video. It's very natural, almost hypnotic, in sync with the rhythm of travelling. It speaks about how we see all things through our conditioned view. Taking control of the wheel means breaking down what we think we know, to find our own voices and realise what is truly important in our lives. The video shows the overwhelming nature of our modern need for possessions and material things, and how we are being manipulated by advertisements and fashions rather than actually being present and focusing on true personal connections and the really important things in life.
To close the autumn set is the ethereal and synth piano led 'Every Inch Naked', full of feeling and atmosphere, a 'song about you'. It reminded me of the wide open deserts of the American mid west fused with a 'Mazzy Star' song in terms of its feeling of wide spaces and distance. It is complemented by an underlying one-note drone. A beautifully written and a high quality song.
'Forever in Your Heart' in almost a 'sister' song to the earlier 'Ghost Of You', Relationships, matters of the hearts and human behavior are all explored. The album continues with the album's title track 'The Seasons Will Change'. The only thing that is consistent about life, is that the fact that it is always changing. Gitta poetical compares it to 'water running under a bridge, the rising and setting of the sun and the changing of the seasons'. The final track on the album is the reflective and comforting 'No Words'. "In time you will see that these tears are only pools of love"