Review: Tom Bright – How Young We Were

The gifted, emerging singer-songwriter Tom Bright released his single “How Young We Were” on 9 April, produced by Ed Harcourt and mastered by Miles Showell at Abbey Road Studios. Bright is a London-based folk artist, whose music contains the attributes of indie-folk and Americana as well. He has played at several venues and festivals in recent years, including at Glastonbury Festival, in Vivaldi’s courtyard with Mick Jones of the Clash.

“How Young We Were” is a solid folk tune with lovely melodies and earthy guitar sounds. This song slightly differs from the tunes that can be heard on Bright’s latest album Torture Land, but strengthens his artistic identity nonetheless.  

The tune’s lyrics are well-written, and the usage of cross rhyme at the end of the lines shows Bright’s significant songwriting  experience. This creates a spectacular flow and strength to the rhythm of the main melody. If we look at the song from this perspective, the influences of the Nashville-based singer-songwriter scene can be sensed within. Musicians and songwriters who operate within that particular musical scene pay attention; they make their lyrics as poetic as possible, which partly comes from the artistic influence of Bob Dylan. Tom Bright’s “How Young We Were” also contains poetic imagery that has an artistic value.

Credit: Paul Gallagher

Melody, Rhythm & Structure
The lead vocal melody in Tom Bright’s single works really well and the rhythmic pulse of it supports the lyrics fully. When a tune is put into a classic A-A-A-A folk song structure, which means there is no place for an outstanding chorus, the lead vocal melody of the verses must be coherent and strong enough to keep the listener’s attention. I believe Bright succeeds with this. 

“How Young We Were” is a perfect example of “less is more”. The track contains only a lead vocal line, one lead guitar line, and an added string section between the verses, yet it sounds full. The lead guitar gives the song an earthy sound, strengthening the folk elements within, and the higher registers of the string section give it a nearly heavenly tone. This perfectly blends in and supports the lead guitar and vocals. Ed Harcourt’s production also deserves credit; it is professionally executed. Bright’s voice, additionally, rings confident and its tone makes it distinctive and unique, which  acts only to strengthen Bright’s artistic identity. 

Credit: Paul Gallagher

“How Young We Were” is a solid single that could definitely operate within the folk genre and in the Americana sub-genre. As it was previously mentioned, the influences of the Nashville-based folk/Americana scene can be sensed within the lyrics and the vocal melody,  which only make the tune’s sonic identity stronger and more coherent. The earthy guitar sounds and the light notes of the string section create a really smooth contrast that works really well, in my opinion. Tom Bright’s talent as a singer-songwriter is unquestionable, and “How Young We Were” is the clear evidence of that. It is one of those modest and natural-sounding tunes that help people’s hearts to warm up after a long, bleak winter when spring arrives, but the pale sun’s rays are not strong enough yet to do the same.


Single Rating: 4,2/5

Aron Debreceni
Aron Debreceni

Aron is a journalist and a student of Utrecht University (NL). He has been doing his own singer-songwriter project 'Aron D' since 2016. Besides music, he is open to write articles about politics, education, health, history and travel.

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