Debs McCoy – Tiny Wooden Blocks
Following a career as an Art Psychotherapist, and experience playing in bands at festivals with her brother Jay and Carl Stafford from KT Tunstall’s former band Elia Drew, artist and musician Debs McCoy has released her debut solo album, Tiny Wooden Blocks.
Debs’ style is acoustic folk, with hints of the blues and indie. She is a skilled and experienced musician, incorporating guitar, piano and harmonica into her work.
Debs has received airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio Newcastle, and has also appeared five times since August 2012 on Tom Robinson’s Fresh On The Net in his weekly ‘Fresh Faves’ feature. Debs has also had repeated plays on WRIR Radio, USA, OGR Radio USA.
If you like the styles of Cat Power and Kate Rusby, to name but two, you will love this album.
The first two tracks on the album, Alone On A Chord and Black Winged Taker, are indicative of Debs’ style – her stunning voice coupled with the soft and sweet piano melodies are simply beautiful.
Debs goes more upbeat now, with Captain Cook, although her voice reminds me of Hope Sandoval’s on this song – it has that haunting quality. With the bluesy guitar, it really works!
First Flight Home seemingly continues on the slightly more upbeat side, with a jaunty guitar melody. However, listen to the lyrics: “You stay, I will go tonight, first flight home.” It’s about the end of a relationship, and the sadness eminates from McCoy’s voice – this is one of the most emotive songs I’ve ever heard.
We move on now to what I would consider to be a traditional folk song, From Across The Pond. Gentle guitar and Debs’ lilting tones transport me to a park on a lovely sunny day. Its end gives the song a great modern twist.
The next two songs, Hours Unplanned and Night Knows Not What It Is, follow on the same vein – Debs has such a versatile and unique voice, whilst at the same time giving a nod towards singers such as Anais Mitchell. I would be surprised if Debs didn’t cite her as an influence, in fact.
Nightingale is a lovely blues song. Debs’ voice gives us a simple melody, with the rhythmic clapping, and the guitar pulling it all together. Gorgeous!
Reprise To Fallen is a beautiful showcase of Debs’ piano skills. She has an incredible talent there, and I hope she produces more tunes of this genre and caliber. It makes a refreshing change to hear an instrumental piece as part of an album.
Next up, we have Rose Madder – this begins with some Spanish style guitar – Debs is certainly no one trick pony! “Someone stay up for me, someone speak up for me.” This is my favourite song on the album.
We are treated next to three songs which show off Debs’ voice perfectly – Sweet Blood, the title track, Tiny Wooden Blocks, and Tired On These Pills, the latter of which tells us about her battle with anxiety, an illness which McCoy has not shied away from, but instead turned to her advantage by the focus on her music.
The album ends with The Way. This is a song of support and strength, and tells us not to let go of our dreams. A beautiful message sung by a voice to match it.
If you would like more information on Debs McCoy’s work (both music and art), and to buy her singles and/or album, please see the links below:
Debs has also collaborated with Steve McNamara from the band Formes. You can find their work here: Soundcloud