Sunjay (last name Brayne, you can see why he’s dropped that) has the same effect on us as the first time we heard Gomez, with that unbelievable voice coming out of a boy who looked about 12.
Ditto Sunjay, an Anglo-Indian from the West Midlands who looks like about 16 and is built like a match with the wood scraped off, but is the most authentic-sounding folk singer we’ve heard in ages: he sounds like Seasick Steve looks, but looks like Joe 90. He obviously has acoustic blues / folk in his blood; his first musical love was Buddy Holly, closely followed by Don McLean. He was a BBC Radio Two young folk award nominee when he was 18 in 2012.
Sunjay is not only a good guitarist, he’s got a great voice. Overall we thought he sounded like Ralph McTell; folkies say he sounds like Chris Smither, who we have to confess we never heard of.
They’re all covers (though a “Brain” is credited on two adaptations): opener London Road is as good a place to start as any, a mid-paced tune very like McTell: Sunjay sounds like a 50-year-old grizzled folkie after a life-time smoking and hard knocks. The song looks like it was written by producer and record label boss Eddy Morton, founder member of The New Bushbury Mountain Daredevils and later the Bushburys.
There are slower songs such as Down The Road, a country cover of the Mary McCaslin tune, complete with subtle banjo, or Mark Knopfler’s Sailing to Philadelphia. There’s a lovely cover of the Tom Rush classic No Regrets.
“Faster tunes are Drop Down Mama, turned into a bluesy stomper, as is Memphis In The Meantime. There’s also humour with You Don’t Mess Round With Jim (Jim Croce) and A Folk Singer Earns Every Dime, the closer.
If you’re a folk fan, it’s not whether you buy this album, but when.