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Album Review: To Leave / To Be Left // Robbie Cavanagh

The return of Robbie Cavanagh in his second album To Leave / To Be Left is not only a marker of his progression but the growth of Americana music in the UK.

After a solid debut album in 2014, the singer has gone on to be recognised throughout the UK and beyond amongst an ever growing country music fan base. While not necessarily filling the Stetsons of the ‘yee-haw’ clientele which hold his honest narratives so dear, Robbie Cavanagh has become the Americana alternative within a thriving UK country scene.

To Leave / To Be Left maintains all that made his debut album so special but expands his sound further across 11 tracks which tackle falling in and out of love with the odd cautionary tale thrown in too.

From its opener ‘Get Out Alive’, the album becomes more immediate and direct as the track swells with this big band feel. And, it’s only gets better from there, with lead single ‘Godsend’ and it’s blissed out pop grooves before the gorgeously soulful ‘Love Comes Quickly’ takes over with the pedal steel shining at centre stage.

Emotions are scattered throughout the album from the moody ‘Scars’, the powerful ‘Reverence’ and the slow burning numbers like ‘Fool’ and ‘Still Talkin’’, which both grow into bleary-eyed outpourings.

To Leave / To Be Left is a diverse collection of tracks that shows songwriting at its very best. Where the album lacks a sense of flow in its narrative, the constant battles, lust, love and despair that these songs recount is more a realistic story of modern romance.

In the end, it’s that honesty that has always made Robbie Cavanagh’s songwriting something to admire but now his ambition is matched with a sound that is equally hard hitting. 

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