Website: My fellow 405 compadre Aaron Hunt commented this week that to a certain extent music is nothing without meaningful and heartfelt lyrics. Well if ever there was an album to hopefully persuade him against that mindset would be the latest offering by Leo Abrahams, The Grape & The Grain. If you've never heard of Leo Abrahams before then you're probably not alone, I was pondering the "who is this guy?" question myself not so long ago too but fear not, I'll shed some much needed light for you. From reading his biog it seems this guy was destined to have a career in music. He started out playing guitar/piano from a very young age until he progressed to the Royal Academy. A year later he got a phone call from a guy that wanted him to play guitar for Imogen Heap. He then went on tour and met Ed Harcourt (the day he got signed). He asked Mr Harcourt if he could be his guitarist and based upon saying yes to the simple question of 'Do you like Tom Waits?' he got the gig. A few years later he was playing guitar in a second-hand shop in Notting Hill when Brian Eno walked in, liked what he heard and asked him to play on his album. Fast forward seven years, he can now include working with Grace Jones and Paul Simon on his CV. That to me is a pretty damn good story! Coming back to the music though, The Grape & The Grain is a great listen. The way Abrahams manages to weave different instruments into the mix is at times beautiful and shows just how good a composer he is. The beginning stages of the album showcases his best work though as the second half gets a bit too much at times. Songs like 'Come In The Morning' and 'Spring Show' have a sincerity and beauty about them which is sorely lacked in the final few songs, which seem to come more from his music theory background rather than his heart (apart from 'Northern Jane'). Even with the quality shift in the final stages this album is a great listen for anyone that appreciates good music, instrumental or not. Rating: 6.9/10