Belgian-based singer-songwriter Meskerem Mees just released her debut album, Julius.
Summoning the young ghosts of Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, Meskerem’s songwriting and voice set her head and shoulders above her contemporaries, along with the cello of Febe Lazou. Meskerem takes off on tour this coming spring, visiting France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Germany.
With her dazzling lyricism, Meskerem narrates vivid, tender, poignant, and wistful tales of humankind.
Take, for instance, the lyrics of “Season Shift,” which explore the foibles of love and relationships.
“Now that we’re both moving on and finding our own way, you wish that you could call me at least once or twice a day / It might not be easy to forget me but for me, this is goodbye / And that’s fine by me / Are you knocking upon heaven’s door or the blood-soaked gates of hell? / No one knows for sure, except for God but he won’t tell / It might be easier for a sinner but you’re no catcher in the rye / It might be easier for a saint though without a halo you won’t fly
Lord, Lord, Lord would you please set us free? / If not inside our rotting graves forever we shall be / All that’s left of you right next to all that’s left of me.”
Meskerem’s redolent voice demands attention. Not only is it crystalline, gentle, and expressive, it’s also subtle with shifting sonic timbres, like sparkling tonal highlights. It’s a grand voice, inimitable, with just a hint of English accent.
The album holds 13-tracks. Speaking subjectively, the best tracks are the aforementioned “Seasons Shift,” which recalls Joni Mitchell. Another excellent track is “Blue and White,” with Lazou’s fragrant cello and Meskerem’s soft, smooth voice.
Perhaps the best track, “Man of Manners” evokes memories of Bob Dylan, blending protestation with eloquent lyrics.
Meskerem Mees has it going on! This is an artist to keep an eye on.