Whether you’ve been on board with Wayne Jewett since his earliest releases or if you’ve cottoned on to him now with the release of his latest single, “Friends” – there can be no denying that he’s a true artist, the kind of artist that comes along infrequently. The new single serves only to cement and further develop this status.
As the emotive first verse of “Friends” rolls into view with a strummed acoustic guitar, Jewett’s distinctive, world-weary vocal tones welcome us back into his world. He begins with a searing, soul-searching look at how things stand on a sentimental level: “I know you’re scared, afraid to let go. Guarding your heart, protecting your soul.”
It’s a resonant, almost desperate keening. In the song’s short span, we travel right through the wringer with Jewitt, through what feels like loss, into a place of hope: “We can be friends, we can be lovers. We can be anything you want, it just depends. It depends on your orders. We can be anything you want. We can be anything or nothing at all.” It is one of the strongest and most important love ballads of 2016 so far.
The picture is of an artist who has pressed the button marked ‘expansive’, reached for the stars and crested them. There’s a confidence, a willingness simply to be himself in this song. However, rather than being characterized by the cares of the world or his own personal plights, it is the stupendous scope of the songwriting talent at his disposal for which Wayne Jewett will be most widely known.
Many will love the heart, soul and creative musical mind of this singer-songwriter. “Friends” is an exercise in constrained, quiet beauty. The emotional, acoustic pattern of the track showcases Jewitts’s raw vocal intensity.
This track isn’t great because of what it adds, but rather, from what it leaves out. By lending itself to a minimalist style, the song sounds confident and tasteful. And a whole lot more personal.
Wayne Jewett stares unafraid at the emotional dilemma of an undefined relationship to find the truths it reveals. It gives him the strength to deal with the here and now and the determination that tomorrow may be a better day. Jewitt sings like fearless warrior of the heart. He goes deep and gives a voice to experiences and emotions that few songwriters can even manage to put to paper.
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