Reviewed by Paul Kerslake
JJ's previous album "Painted Red", released in 2008, earned rave reviews and considerable airplay from Cross Rhythms and subsequently, one of the songs from the album was picked up for a popular US reality dance programme. 'When I'm With You', released last year, is a collection of songs all about relationships and is an absolute joy of a record. The set opens with the upbeat "Tell It Again", a catchy, punchy song while the title track is a warming mother to daughter song, so simple and yet so deep at the same time, "I could never count all the ways that you change me, baby every day the sky is a deeper shade of blue, when I'm with you". The first single from the album, "What Love Really Means" is simply amazing, a song that will speak to so many of us; the chorus refrain "Who will love me for me, Not for what I have done or what I will become" coupled with a beautiful melody made a huge impact on me. The album continues in this vein, the 10 tracks span less than 40 minutes, but this is songwriting at its best and it's most definitely a case of quality over quantity. As the best writers do, JJ is able to convey emotion, stories and happiness in the space of a three minute song. The arrangements and instrumentation all reflect the excellent songs; balanced, supportive and tasteful. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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