In October 2020, S J Denney’s ‘The Unsung Hero’ landed up on our virtual desk and since then he has remained a regular feature on The Other Side Reviews. We enjoy his music and say good things about the guy, but not because we have to – it’s because all his music deserves our praise. From ‘The Unsung Hero’ to ‘And Then You Wonder…’, the UK-based singer-songwriter has been sharing his songs with not only us but audiences across the globe. The latest addition to his discography is ‘All I’ve Ever Known’.
Honing his evolving sound, Denney is an innovative artist who feels he is “hitting [his] stride and continuing to push sonic boundaries” with ‘All I’ve Ever Known’. Introducing new instrumentation to his style, this new song has a more sophisticated and honed edge as compared to previous material. The most intriguing aspect of ‘All I’ve Ever Known’ is the incorporation of a dulcimer as a backing instrument. Personally, I had no idea what a dulcimer was thinking it was a violin or something; but no, it’s something far more exciting and hypnotic.
Along with the dulcimer, Denney introduces a baritone guitar and harmonicas further pushing his instrumental boundaries. A bit of an acoustic-inspired sound, ‘All I’ve Ever Known’ has a soothing, smooth melodic sound. The harmonica solos are what did it for me with their calming effect but rather melancholic tones. Someone once said that Santana made a guitar sing and that stands true in ‘All I’ve Ever Known’ – just this time it’s a harmonica carrying the song through a melancholic soundscape.
Just as fascinating and captivating as the melody, S J Denney showcases his depth as an artist in ‘All I’ve Ever Known’. Touching on self-acceptance and empowerment, the calming albeit slightly melancholic tune tells us how we need to accept that nobody is an island. It brings a sense of realisation in knowing that we can’t overcome all hurdles alone. It’s a lesson many people need to learn, and this outstanding musician can make the harsh reality of realisation sweeter.