Album: Ruarri Joseph, Shoulder to the Wheel (PIP/ACP)

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The Independent Culture

These are tough enough times for earnest young men with guitars. Ruarri Joseph appears to have it all: decent looks, a worldly backstory, a warm tenor and songs that seem to tick the required boxes.

Trouble is, in the current marketplace he is going to find himself caught between the cheesy likeability of early David Gray and the retro-cool of classic Cat Stevens, meaning it's hard to know who will buy his pleasant second album. Doesn't bode well that the high point is the cover of Rodriguez's "Rich Folks Hoax".