Rag‘n’Bone Man (Rory Graham) began his musical journey MCing on the drum and bass scene with The Rum Committee. It was through this that he began to meet people who would help get his career on the go. He took on his stage name and self-released the EP ‘Blues Town’, which was heavily influenced by his time performing at a blues jam. Following in the footsteps of Adele and Sam Smith he won the Critics Choice Award 2017 at the Brits.
What has to be noted first is that if you are looking for an album that follows in the footsteps of the lead single ‘Human’ you will be disappointed. That is not to say the album lacks anything, instead, the diversity of twelve songs has something for everyone. When the lead song ‘Human’ hit the mainstream across the UK it was an instant success. It is easy to see the appealing nature of this song, it is raw and bluesy and Graham manages to put into words things we all feel that are difficult to express. His voice transcends genres from the gospel number ‘Skin’ to the more conventional pop of ‘Be The Man’ and ‘Arrow’, although his voice is still distinctively soulful throughout the entirety of the album.
‘Bitter End’ is an example of how dynamic his voice can really be. Graham glides effortlessly from a raw, gravelly growl to a soft and soothing tone in his voice. Neo-soul would be what’s best to describe this song; stripped down it would be a soulful melody through and through, but the mesmerising production modernises the song pulling it into the 21st century.
‘Human’ is a beautifully crafted, real album which is going to shake up the industry. Finally, artists like Rag‘n’Bone Man are getting heard and less and less reality show clones are being spewed out to us by the dozen. There has not been a debut quite like this for a long time and if this album is anything to go by Graham is in it for the long haul and other artists need to up their game because this guy is not going anywhere.