Singer-songwriter Nick Santino, formerly lead singer of pop-rock outfit A Rocket To The Moon, is worlds away from what once was with his solo career. His friends in rock quintet The Maine gave him the label, “the only cowboy in Massachusetts,” and it fits, as his new material is definitely inspired by country music and its roots in the south of the US – namely Nashville, Tennessee. Armed with only an acoustic guitar, Santino has done an excellent job of winning over fans of A Rocket To The Moon as well appealing to an entirely different group of potential fans.

Santino released his debut solo album Big Skies in May, and has now released an EP entitled Savannah just in time for Christmas. The record offers six new tracks that stick to Santino’s theme of producing chilled out, softer songs that are the perfect soundtrack for winding down.

Kicking off with ‘Rio’, Santino’s vocals will have you hooked in seconds. After Rocket’s split, it’s only right that he continued on in music, as with a voice like his it would be a waste for him to do anything else. With his solo material, he’s able to do exactly what he wants with his music, and this is a direction that everyone is happy with – himself and his fans alike. The intricate melodies he lays down are like lullabies, but listeners will be kept on their toes with just how relatable the lyrics are.

Tracks like ‘How To Live With A Ghost’ and title track ‘Savannah’ prove that Nick Santino can give some successful singer-songwriters a run for their money. His way with words is inspiring, and his attitude is so down to earth – there’s no superiority complex, and he’s not out of reach to his fans. There’s a level of intimacy that you just can’t beat that has been present in his previous releases, and it carries on in to Savannah with ease.

All in all, Savannah is an incredibly solid record that would make a touching Christmas gift for anyone you know who’s a fan of artists like Lydia, Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst. It’s a well-executed mix of indie, country, and Santino’s roots of pop and rock, so there’s something for everyone in a surprisingly small package. It only makes you wonder what he has up his sleeve for 2015!

[rating:5]