Singer-Songwriter Joe Hicks Presents His First Full-Length Album 'The Best I Could Do At The Time'
Singer-songwriter Joe Hicks presents his first full-length album, The Best I Could Do At The Time, out now.
Raised in the rural market town of Newbury, England, Joe Hicks blends pop, blues and folk influences, combining intricate guitar composition with classic pop song-craft. The Best I Could Do at the Time is an earnest collection of music, combining Joe’s exceptional songwriting and pop sensibilities with a boldness to wear his heart on his sleeve.
The singles, ‘Mirror Mirror’ and ‘One More Step’ have already gained critical acclaim on release earlier this year and provided a small glimpse into what to expect from the album. The former, which brings you straight in with a guitar riff reminiscent of John Mayer, was actually the first song Joe wrote for the record. With ‘One More Step’, a song described by Joe as “probably the most ‘pop’ song on the album”, a riff in the chorus loops while the lyrics convey a frustration over remaining stuck in one place.
Album opener ‘Sail Away’ is pure euphoria, soaring and striving to remain positive while proclaiming “Love is all I need” no matter what happens. ‘Maybe When It’s Over’ includes bright guitars and layered harmonies that would not sound out of place on a Tom Petty record. ‘Alive’ follows a similar path and has more than a hint of Americana, with the production allowing the musicianship to sing for itself, combined lyrically with a longing to break free. The sun-soaked ‘Out of My Mind’ exhibits yet another side to the Joe’s polished song writing as he dives into a pool of gleaming nostalgia for an electric-paced relationship that went adrift - “I think the trick was keeping the production very organic, as well as including some negative aspects of the narrative to contrast with the musical feel”- Joe.
The slower folky moments of The Best I Could Do at the Time combine deft fingerpicking skills and Joe’s soaring falsetto to match the heartfelt lyrics, especially with ‘Pieces’, an ode to ending a toxic relationship. Reaching a glorious crescendo of strings and close-knit harmonies, the song conveys a message of hope while propelling forward. The reflective ‘Make It Home’ offers elements of country with a gentle half-time drumbeat and stunning chord progressions. Yet even with these melancholic themes of escape and broken relationships, hope and excitement still have their moments. Serving as a companion piece of sorts to the thrilling opening track ‘Sail Away’, album closer ‘Weightless’ once again picks up this air of abandonment, finding enjoyment in a summer night out with its bluesy shuffle and easy-going sonics.
“The Best I Could Do at the Time is a journey through many of the emotional peaks and troughs we go through as humans… It’s about acknowledging them, living in those feelings for a while and ultimately finding the hope we all have within us to take control and rise above the worst of them. The album is a real deep dive into all of my influences. Having to write 11 songs forced me to follow the thread of many ideas that stylistically I would have shunned in the past, and led to some of my favourite songs on there.” – Joe Hicks
Intending to write another EP in 2020, some persistent encouragement from producer Sam Winfield (Amber Run, Fickle Friends, Robin Trower, Only Sun) resulted in Joe writing his first full-length album. Along with Winfield on production and mixing duties – as well as providing keyboards – mastering was completed by Robin Schmidt. Musicians on the album include Joshua Rigal on bass (except for ‘Alive’, on which bass is played by Lenny Brown), Ed Broad on drums and Tom Millar on percussion, who also engineered the album.
Having made a name for himself as a session guitarist, Joe Hicks released his first solo single at the start of 2017. Soon after he was made 'BBC Introducing Artist of the Week’, receiving extensive radio play across the U.K and also a CLASH ‘Track of the Day’ feature. Since then, he’s built up a sizable online following (3 million Spotify Streams) helped on by extensive support from BBC Introducing and touring the UK and Europe, including appearances at CarFest, The Big Feastival, Are You Listening? Festival, Pub in the Park, over 30 Sofar Sounds shows and slots supporting Sam Fender, James Walsh and Starsailor.