Scottish singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini has captured the goodwill of the UK charts with his debut album, These Streets. I should say young Scottish singer-songwriter because this guy is only 19. With a voice that is soulful, somewhat of whisky-soaked and smoked variety (early Rod Stewart is brought to mind – which makes me wonder what this kid would sound like in a rock band), Paolo can do lots of soulful styles. On “Last Request,” there is a feel of a Hall and Oates soulfulness but Uncut magazine says that Paolo Nutini draws a comparison with the great Al Green. While that may be a bit far-fetched, there is no question that Nutini’s voice is an asset.
His natural songwriting certainly shows a deep influential pattern not unlike the R&B artists of the past. He credits family with this exposure, the evidence of which weaves in and out of his songs, all 10 of them on his album. Writing songs that spell out his experiences in his life, including the song that Jenny must be proud to point out to her friends as being about her, “Jenny Don’t Be Hasty,” Paolo Nutini is at a better spot with his debut release that many spend years and multiple albums to get to.
The current single from this album, “Last Request,” is easily the best song on an album with several easy single choices. Other choice songs include “Rewind,” and the lively “Alloway Grove.” The rest of the album is full of well-crafted originals.
These Streets is a smorgasbord of R&B styles that will surprise some with his natural vocal talent and strong influences as well as a flair for the songwriting that eludes so many others. For a first album, the signs are all pointed in the right direction. It will be very interesting to see what Paolo Nutini gives us in the future.