Despite his relative youth, 20 year-old Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Simon Lunche has actually had a rather lengthy musical career that he can trace back to when he was a small child: he took up guitar when he was 5, eventually becoming one of the youngest endorsed artists in the history of Gibson Guitars; but he’s best known as the creative mastermind and frontman of The Blondies, an act that formed when he was just nine. The Blondies acclaimed album Just Another Evening was released in June 2016, right as Lunch was about to graduate high school.
While several of the older band members decided to focus on finishing college, Lunche opted to forego school and pursue music full-time. And although Lunche had written The Blondies four, full-length albums on his own, the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and guitarist found that working as a solo artist added a much greater degree of creative freedom — and as a result was an unexpected evolution in his sound and songwriting approach. “As I started working on my new music, I rediscovered the reason why I picked up guitar in the first place,” Lunche says in press notes. Expanding on the technique he’d developed and sharpened since he was a child, he advanced from his former role as a rhythm guitarist and started crafting more intricate and richly textured guitar lines. “I don’t go for that shred-happy stuff that’s going to blow the roof off,” he says. “For me, it’s more about slower, smoother playing and more melodic lines that really stay with you in a special way.”
Lunche’s forthcoming solo debut, was mixed by Grammy Award-winning engineer Dave Reitzas, who’s worked a wide array of artists from Barbra Streisand to The Weeknd, and the album reportedly draws from the Bay Area-based singer/songwriter and guitarist’s longtime love of Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen with a natural soulfulness and thoughtfulness. “I think as you get older, you start to appreciate these little moments in time in a way you maybe never had before,” Lunche says. “A lot of what I’m writing right now is about dealing with change and trying to move forward, but still holding onto some reminiscence of the past.”
“Cherry Wine,” the first single off Lunche’s forthcoming solo album is an effortlessly soulful yet lush and carefully crafted take on pop that draws from 60s and 70s songwriter-centered soul and Northern soul, with a loose, bluesy guitar line. To my ears, the song reminds me a bit of Simply Red‘s “Holding Back the Years” and “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” complete with a soaring, gospel-inspired backing vocal section — and a wistful and heartache-filled nostalgia. The new single finds the young singer/songwriter writing and singing from a perspective that belies his relative youth while aiming at something timeless.