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Dan Bettridge - Hunter's Heart (EP Review)

Friday, 08 March 2013 Written by David Ball
Dan Bettridge - Hunter's Heart (EP Review)

Acoustic singer songwriter types are pretty much a dime a dozen these days, some sticking around and earning popular acclaim (see Ben Howard's recent surge to mainstream popularity) while most disappear back to obscurity before anyone's even noticed they've arrived.

ImageDan Bettridge is one of the next in line to try and make that step up into public conscious and, on the basis of his 6 track debut EP he's got every chance to do so. Still a few months shy of his 20th birthday, Bettridge grew up listening to the likes of James Taylor and Bob Dylan while he's had comparisons made to Willy Mason and Bon Iver. A recent favourite of BBC DJ's including Dermot O'Leary, Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn who made him her 'BBC Introducing Act Of The Week' back in January.

Hailing from the South Wales town of Ogmore-by-Sea 'Hunter's Heart' already has the sound of someone who's spent significant time honing his own sound and developing a real personality to his music. Often these early EP's can be overly focused on a single sound and become repetitive despite being less than 30 minutes long. It's to Bettridge's credit that he avoids this and every song sounds fresh even after repeated listens.

Opening track 'In The Morning' goes from delicate, wistful verses to a catchy chorus which immediately sticks in your head and has you singing along even before the song finishes. 'Harvey's Angel' puts the focus firmly onto his lyrics while 'Days Of Ours' has a bluesy beat balanced perfectly by a soulfully delivered vocal.

'Prayer For Me' sounds the way you expect Kings Of Leon's Caleb Followill would sound if he went solo and acoustic. It's another expertly delivered vocal, rising and falling at just the right moments to add real personality to the track. It has the hallmarks of a real live favourite, particularly at the more intimate venues he's currently frequenting.

Closing track 'Untitled' is where the Willy Mason comparison has come from, the bassy acoustic rhythm and vocal sounding like they've come straight from Mason's 'Where The Humans Eat' album before closing with the sound of birds and the seaside, presumably a nod to his home town.
His genre may be the most difficult of all to grab a foothold in right now but all the tools are here for Dan Bettridge to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Ben Howard and really grab people's attention. There's a maturity shown in the way he delivers his vocals and he's got a real eye for a melody which gives him every chance of getting the mainstream radio play listing required to forge forward.
If 'Hunter's Heart' is the teaser of things to come I've got high expectations for his first full release.

'Hunter's Heart' is available now, to download on iTunes and from various other distributors. CD's are also available to order from danbettridge.bigcartel.com.


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