Hailing from Madrid, Spain, Juan Zelada releases his debut album after receiving support from Radio 2 and signing to the same label that houses the likes of Paul Simon and Jamie Cullum. An impressive tour of 25 dates within a month will support the record, starting March 28 in Northampton.
Opening with soulful harmonies and jazz piano piece, 'The Blues Remains' has encapsulating warmth with a touch of big band brass. A change to acoustic guitar on 'Battle of Spitalfields' finds Zelada equally likeable, sounding like a less contrived version of James Morrison and all the better for it. The country-tinged 'Baby Be Mine' sees the quality stutter, but ears are quickly recaptured by the breezy 'Elsewhere' whilst not singing along to 'What Do I Know' proves rather difficult after a couple of plays. Taking a more serious tone is 'Open Up My Eyes', a sweeping ballad that really highlights the potential of this singer-songwriter, whilst the live version of 'Don't Hold Me Down' not only shows a capable stage performer, but someone who can inject some fun rock and roll. Though chart success may have eluded Zelada thus far this album is the announcement of a welcome new talent - hopefully it will get the commercial recognition it deserves.