Whilst lockdown might have caused artists to revaluate their plans, it hasn’t always stopped them from being productive. And that’s certainly the case with British blues/rocker Rebecca Downes, who recently released her latest lockdown-inspired acoustic album.

Over the last year, Downes and guitarist/co-writer Steve Birkett decided to revisit some of the tried and tested tracks from their extensive repertoire. Downes’ latest offering features twelve compositions. The breakdown of which equates to six numbers from More Sinner Than Saint, four songs from sophomore release ‘Believe’ along with two previously unreleased tracks, Blues For Us and Washing All Over My Heart.

The vibe is reminiscent of the ‘90s MTV unplugged releases utilizing ‘stripped back’ acoustic arrangements, hence the album name. If you can imagine Rebecca and Steve perched atop of bar stools grasping acoustic guitars, then you are halfway there.

Fan favourites such as Take Me Higher, Hurts and More Sinner Than Saint work incredibly well in this format. The arrangement allows Rebecca’s incredible voice and vocal range to shine.

By a similar token, Rebecca’s emotive delivery radiates through the gentle format of songs such as the heartfelt Sailing on a Pool of Tears or the atmospheric Blues For Us – whilst the slide fuelled Americana feel of Believe and the sultry yet infectious groove of Night Train make these staple numbers in Rebecca’s setlist stand out on the album.

The less is more approach works well with each of the compositions on the album. With Stripped Back, Downes and Birkett have managed to breathe a new lease of life into these classics from Rebecca’s songbook. And with the Spring/Summer approaching, Stripped Back is the perfect album to relax to in your garden – so grab yourself your beverage of choice and enjoy!

Words by Adam Kennedy