French singer/songwriter Romain Gutsy released his new record “When Leonard Met Dolly” on the 25th of March, 2022. After a long musical journey that started in the 90s playing with various bands and artists and traveling all over the world, Romain Gutsy decided to unleash his musical abilities to the world with a project under his name. While working on projects like an EP in duet with Russian opera soprano Svetlana Kasyan, and an LP with all songs in French, Gutsy released the musical journey which is “When Leonard Met Dolly” featuring Sarah-Julia that appears in all songs except for “If you See Her”.
Our journey starts with “As Dylan Said” which with Gutsy’s deep mesmerizing voice over acoustic guitars and subtle strings orchestrations made an elegant intro to the album. The way different instruments like electric guitars, bass, and keys were introduced elevated the mood and created a smooth flow as the song progressed. “By Being Kind” comes next to shake things around a little. It’s a feel-good tune with lots of energy produced by the engaging violins mixed with that drumbeat that made it super catchy and the way the electric guitar engages in a smooth conversation with violins took the dynamics to a whole new level. Gutsy decides to change the rules with “If I Were to Extend Myself Everywhere” and take a more psychedelic approach. Aside from being the only song on the album whose lyrics have not been written by Romain Gutsy, but by a British living poet named Martin Weightman, it has some old school psych melodies and lots of experimentations with sounds and effects especially, the buildup that led to that incredible mid-section that kept me wondering “what might be the next sound?”
To add some groove to the mix, Gutsy introduces “I’m a Married Man”, a funky groovy tune with jazzy touches. It simply shows Gutsy’s musicianship and skill in writing various types of structures and moods plus, incorporating different instruments like the use of what I believe was an upright bass and the way he mixed it with keys and trumpets giving the song unique texture and feel. The groove goes on with “Yusuf’s Questions” with its bluesy guitar and fluid vocal melody matching the guitar arpeggios. It kept the record’s dynamics steady making it more enjoyable. “She Is Dolly” comes next with its catchy chorus, flowing melodies, and non-restricted beautiful piano. It’s an old school bluesy tune that reminded me of a lot of classics. Romain Gutsy steers the mood into a mellow zone with “Leonard’s Gypsy Wife”, I loved the electric guitar work, mature licks that perfectly match the mood with no showing off or overdoing. The percussions are remarkable and kept it groovy and chilling. Towards the end, Gutsy surprises us with his masterpiece “A Narrow Fellow in the Grass” which is a lovely interesting 100% progressive piece. It starts with a cool catchy intro then moves slowly into a dreamy mood that keeps on building and progressing through a beautiful stream of melodies incorporating various instruments from a magical violins section to brass, percussions, bass, acoustic guitars, and keyboards all perfectly layered and arranged with each and every one of them taking its moment at perfect timing. Last but not least comes “If you See Her” which was released as a single. It’s a ballad from Leonard Cohen’s world mixed with some jazz, blues, and classic rock n roll in a perfect mix that’ll leave you high on how it was well written.
“When Leonard Met Dolly” is a beautiful interesting musical trip with Romain Gutsy. It shows his great songwriting abilities. He’s a master of dynamics and experimentation that will keep you interested until his last note. Totally recommend that you give this record the proper listening with no interruptions it deserves. Looking forward for more from Romain Gutsy. Cheers!