"No Matter How Far Away" by Joe DolmanReview
I have to declare an interest, if not some downright sense of favouritism in regard to my review of "No Matter How Far Away", today's single release by Joe Dolman.
I was lucky enough to hear him play it live last summer, when he signalled that it was intended for a single release at some stage: which we are now arrived at. On that occasion, it really stood out for me, which says something about the quality of the song considering the rest of his set was full of his high quality songs I already knew. And despite the distraction from a very loud Bananarama on a stage not too far away at the Godiva Festival.
It's a dangerous road, and one I seldom risk starting out on, to proclaim a personal favourite from among an artist's work & I appreciate the danger of picking their latest release in the euphoria of freshness & immediacy, but this one really has made a distinct impression upon me.
Part of it relates I think to pleasure that Joe has fully emerged from a period which seemed introspective to me: so many singles were reflective & often self deprecating, so to have material like the superb "The Lucky One", his ‘Until You Fall In Love' EP and now this single, we do seem to have signs of his enjoying life more again.
"No Matter How Far Away" also moves into brand new lyrical territory as although concerning love (as his songs pretty much all do), this is not romantic love but is dedicated to the theme of watching the young daughter of a close friend (he sees himself as an unofficial "uncle") grow up.
In this, the tenderness he often approaches others with is particularly poignant given the age of the subject (currently four) and the sense of marvelling at the processes of change & growth woven into an articulation of wonder: in fact his own favourite verse concerns looking into the future to share experiences yet to come.
Obviously from the title, you'll have guessed that there are other emotional nuances at play here: specifically a set around regret at not being there constantly while wishing to reassure her of his being "there" in all forms, regardless of physical proximity.
Very appropriately, given the sentiment and the prime audience, Joe has kept this one stripped right back: pretty much as he played it live. He produced it himself with Jack Arnold, Matt Cotterill mixed it & John Braddock mastered it: between them, they've captured & kept the exceptional beauty of this gem.
So: I'll nail my colours to the mast & say it's my favourite Joe song of his career to date (it may just squeeze ahead of "The Lucky One") & although I'm not sure what the criteria for "best" are, if anyone wants to bestow that accolade on "No Matter How Far Away", then I'm not prepared to argue with them.