James Bay keeps things simple on The Dark of the Morning, an EP that shines a soft, warm spotlight on his guitar playing and raspy soul singing. With help from a cello player, he turns “Move Together” — one of the record’s highlights — into a call-to-arms for two lovers who’ve been circling around one another for far too long. It’s an acoustic song that packs an orchestral punch, and it’s a nice appetizer for the full EP.
“The Dark of the Morning marks the beginning of the journey,” says the young songwriter, who launched his career in Hitchin, England, before enrolling at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. “These songs are personal and honest stories written over the past 12 months about darker times, as well as hopeful ones. Now I get to release and share them, and that is very cool. I’ve spent these last few years going from stage to stage, playing open mics night after night, and it was really important to maintain that live sound on the EP. It’s live and stripped back; I just wanted to capture the songs in their rawest form.”