The first time I heard Nashville’s Blue Merle, I could have sworn it was a side project of Coldplay’s Chris Martin based on the singer’s voice. Although the singer may sound alot like Martin, the music itself goes in several different directions with an occasional fiddle or violin thrown in.
Two of the first few tracks, “Burning in the Sun” and “Lucky to Know You” were great folk-rockers with swirling violins and fiddles here and there, giving them each a bluegrass or country-rock feel. Other great songs were the powerful Keane-ish ballad, “If I Could,” and the exciting, thumping John Mayer-ish jingle “Boxcar Racer.” The last half of the album was filled with hip violin-flavored ballads in the style of Neil Young or Counting Crows, and the two upbeat bluegrass-folkies “Seeing Through You” and “Either Way it Goes.” But by far the best tracks were the ones that sounded the most like Coldplay musically, which were the melodramatic “Stay” and the somber, piano-leading “Every Ship Must Sail Away.” I found myself playing this sad yet brilliant song again and again for its beautiful ending. Much like Coldplay or any modern-day singer-songwriter, Blue Merle is one of those bands to listen for a good, relaxing, peaceful state of mind, and “Burning in the Sun” ranks up there for me as one of those reflective mood-setting albums to listen to all the way through for a rainy day.