The last thing Daniel Merriweather wants is to be compared to Amy Winehouse. And that’s perfectly understandable; what artist needs media coverage of their work that consistently fashions links to a well-known, better peer? But when you’re white, not American, possess an emotion-drenched, Otis Redding-inspired vocal style, and Mark Ronson (the man responsible for producing half of Winehouse’s Back to Black) laces every single one of your tracks with that familiar Stax Records-meets-Phil Spector-meets-Hip Hop sound, you’re sort of asking for it.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia (not London?!), Daniel Merriweather’s rise from down-under obscurity to potential Soul superstardom might have seemed unlikely, were it not for the unprecedented success of his not-so-distant, musical older cousin, Miss. Winehouse, and the almost immediate procession of like-minded/Caucasian artists that followed (i.e. Adele, Duffy, etc). Blue-eyed Soul is in ladies and gentlemen, and as long as these artists are putting out quality shit, I’m down with it. Besides, Merriweather’s been an active musician since the early 2000’s; there’s no sense of any sort of calculated opportunism going on with Merriweather’s debut album, the charming Love & War; just a handful of knockout compositions, some mediocre ones, a couple forgettables, and a big, wide-open space where Merriweather’s singular musical personality should have been, but isn’t.
Overall…not bad for a first try.