You may know Mayor Stubbs as the cat who has inexplicably been honorary mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska since 1997 (look it up, that’s not a joke!), but he also happens to be a Glasgow-based singer-songwriter.
And just a few seconds listening to the latter’s self-titled debut EP should be enough, if you take into consideration a cat’s lack of opposable thumbs for a start, to suggest they are not in fact the same animal.
Opening track ‘Abandon Ship’ is a gentle number, which heralds the arrival of a talent who successfully blends accented, emotive vocals, strong song-writing, and remarkable musicianship.
‘Everything is Illuminated’ follows with the partnership between passionate vocals and guitar producing a sound that is as infectious as it is impressive.
Soon, the fantastic intro to ‘Rival Unions’ kicks in and Stubbs purveys more playful, optimistic folk joy; at times the song is not unlike Frightened Rabbit at their acoustic best and Stubbs’s ability to get so many levels of emotion from one instrument becomes a formidable asset.
And then comes the highlight, ‘Spiderhands’ – a song that, as the title suggests, focuses attention on the Mayor’s handy ability.
Another glorious intro soon makes way for alarmingly quick fingers, around which an engrossing song is crafted; the midway point marks the beginning of a slowly building yet sublime acoustic journey, before Stubbs steers the song to its triumphant last line following a few last appearances of his spiderhands.
Mayor Stubbs’ ability to convey genuine emotion, allied to his skilled song-writing and stunning command of his acoustic weapon, make him a uniquely addictive artist playing to his strengths and producing fantastic music as a result.
Somewhere in Alaska there is a cat throwing up furballs, disgusted at no longer being the most notable Mayor Stubbs on the planet.
Words: Jason Henderson