Are you ready to have your mind blown? It will be when you find out what I know about Sydney Sherwood, and her newest release, “Headspace”.
“Headspace”, by New Jersey based Sydney Sherwood, is a six song EP produced and co-written by Brian Craddock, guitarist of Daughtry and owner of The Cat Room Recording Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
This new EP starts off with “Wolves” and I’m immediately compelled to lose myself in the tribal like vocals that harmonize and come in heavy with a sweet percussion. I feel like I’ve been transported to the desert. It’s nighttime, there is a huge bonfire and dancing, sweaty bodies all around. Sydney’s voice is exquisitely timbered. She sounds very well seasoned and the song writing is mystically delicious.
“Let Me Down” is next up and while I loved the sound of the last song, I’m still delighted to hear how this one is decidedly more metro sounding, like I’m cruising from the desert with my favorite music cranked up loud, on my way to hit the Nashville club scene. There is a hint of upbeat country that juxtaposes alluringly with Sydney’s relaxed vocals. And what’s this? 45 seconds into the song, and there is still no chorus – Very cool! With today’s cookie cutter song format, it was refreshing to not feel rushed into it. Yes, some people still have an attention span longer than a fish 🙂 Thank you! One last thought about this song is how Sydney harmonizes impeccably with the radio backing vocals, finishing up the song superbly.
The third track, is a single she released back in January, “Creep”. Sydney’s words about this song are, “Being someone that has struggled with anxiety, when it came to writing ‘Creep,’ I really wanted to give an inside look on what anxiety feels like, the emotions you experience while in a panic attack, and the idea that the same mind that thinks of the beauty of life is also the one that thinks negative thoughts which can really drag you down. I found in my experience that some people didn’t understand what it was like to have anxiety and would just tell me to “be positive” or “just don’t think about it” and I wished they understood or could feel what was going on inside. My main goal with this song was to illustrate the war that goes on in your head when you have anxiety as well as how you can either choose to let fear overcome you or you can overcome that fear.”
Her intentions were accomplished magnificently. “Creep” has a pinch of sinister, mixed with a brighter melody, that had a sort of laid back vibe. There is a hypnotically driving groove, helped by consistent solid drums, that has some decadent bluesy notes, like you are adventuring in the deep bayou’. The blues offers up a classic layer that’s otherwise enriched with a modern song structure.
“Born to Roll” doesn’t waste any time getting to driving vocals and a honky tonkin’ melody and I want to run and put on my cowboy boots and head to some tiny town out west to raise some hell. This one is more upbeat and it’s really impressive to listen to the way Sydney dances around the key in a flirty way that’s both refreshing and fun. This lady has pipes! The guitar really stands out in this song as well, the effects are sic, sort of synth-y, but totally guitar. I’m thinking “You can’t do that!”, but Yes you can, and it’s brilliant.
Now we’re finding ourselves at the horizon’s edge – literally, the next song is “Horizon’s Edge” and the songwriting is genius. It has a symphony intro, which leads into an epic, and surprisingly simple acoustic guitar which adds an evocative space for Sydney’s voice. The vulnerability in this song touches my soul, and the note choices and progression are interesting and beautiful. Sydney Sherwood’s voice is bendy and layers perfectly with the instruments. Is that a violin or cello? Speaking of perfection, the who-haw choices are wondrous. This song is so pure and open, and at the same time, there is a complexity in the layers that wrap up into a fresh “Doors” like keyboard outro. I did say genius songwriting, right?
The final track, “All the Aces” comes in groovy, which is precisely what I needed after the vulnerability and reflective quality of “Horizon’s Edge”. It’s like the horizon set over the water and now we’re rolling back into the big city. Sydney has yet another vocal styling that makes you want to hang onto every note. She really knows how to hook you and keep you enthralled through all the songs. There is some slide-y steel guitar that wraps up her lines remarkably while the touch of country is firmly embraced in a more heavy alternative genre.
Even though there are six songs on this EP, there is a full album experience. The production is out of this world superb, and I can’t get over such a huge, sophisticated, “old-soul” voice coming out of an 18 year old! (That was what I was talking about being floored). She is going to be one to keep your eyes on because I fully believe she’s going to be HUGE! Great job all around, but as usual, you get a taste yourself and let me know if you feel the same way. Here is a video to get you started and you can keep following her at: