E.P. Review: Savannah Conley – Twenty-Twenty

Americana super producer Dave Cobb agreed to work with 21 year old Savannah Conley after only hearing her play a third of a song. Cobb believed immediately in her talent and potential, saying, “She really reminds me of a southern Mazzy Star and I was blown away with her lyrics.” No pressure, then. This Cobb produced EP is only three songs long but has enough quality to suggest that Conley can live up to the high expectations.

There’s a world weary sadness to Twenty-Twenty which feels fitting for the mood of the times. ‘I’d like to see this world with the innocence of a girl / but I’m older now, I’ve figured it out’ are pretty mature opening lines for a twenty one year old songwriter to sing, showing the wisdom that underpins her lyrics. She might be young but she’s jaded. The bright dream of childhood is long gone and she can’t go back. ‘I’m stuck with the same old eyes,’ she sings. ‘Doctor says I’ve got 20/20 but I think he’s the one who’s blind’. The real world hurts and she knows it all too well. Gloomy country inspired instrumentation underpins these songs.

All I Wanted is a quiet slumber of a song. The world brings you down, it’s easy to go mad but sometimes you want to fall in love anyway. When she repeats ‘all I wanted was you’ you feel the longing in every note. Even in the darkest doom, the hope of love can be enough to drag you through. Cobb’s subtle production allows her voice to really shine.

Never Be Ourselves is a welcome change of pace, although the tone of all three songs is consistently melancholic. Still there’s a different feel to this with its ‘oohs’, pedal steel and distorted vocals towards the end. Love never ends well for her, ‘it takes no time to break this heart of mine’ she muses. I hear some Tom Petty and maybe The War on Drugs influences on this one. The vocals are understated, but there’s twang just enough to make this EP fit into the loose idea of Americana, although she certainly seems to moving away from the more obvious country influences of previous songs like Blowin’ Smoke.

Savannah Conley has already toured with Brent Cobb and Brandi Carlile (go watch their awesome performance of Landslide on YouTube) and has signed to Elektra Records. She might be an old soul but youth and time are on her side. Twenty-Twenty offers a glimpse of her quality, suggesting a bright and clear musical future up ahead.

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