Maverick Magazine: July 2006
Unforgettable listening experience from talented newcomer.
Initially the best way to fully appreciate just how good a musician Yorkshireman Andy Thornton is, is to listen to SUNFLOWER GIRL without knowing anything about it or indeed him. If you approach this album without any preconceptions you'll find an exquisite mosaic of the songwriters' art. Thornton writes wonderfully mature intelligent songs that require the listener to be equally mature and intelligent. SUNFLOWER GIRL is an album of wonderfully crafted songs that could only come from a man for whom writing is an extension of himself. But as thoughtful and well written as the likes of Shake The Moon Down, Under My Skin and Shores of Forever are (and you could select any of the songs as perfect examples), the real substance comes from the fact that Thornton is unable to separate himself from the music. SUNFLOWER GIRL will gently break your heart and then immediately restore your faith and for that alone, it deserves its place among the singer-songwriter classics.
However, when you learn that it was written in the year following the death of Thornton's wife, it becomes something different altogether. Only Andy Thornton will know the effect that writing and recording SUNFLOWER GIRL had on him but he lays himself so open on songs like Crashing and Burning and Rosey (One More Time) that it becomes almost too intrusive. As a writer Andy Thornton freeze-frames his experiences into 3 and 4 minute tapestries and they have no need of ornate settings, the poetry of Love's Promised Land requires nothing more than the simplest of arrangements and Thornton's soaring, aching voice, anything more would simply be a distraction, in this case simplicity adds lustre.
There is a gentle integrity about SUNFLOWER GIRL that originates from one source, the creator's care, paradoxically it also lifts the spirits. Andy Thornton is surely one of those musicians who measures success and failure in the quality of the music, not in the units 'moved'. It certainly meets the most stringent quality test on the first, let's hope for the sake of real music it also succeeds in the second. Listening to SUNFLOWER GIRL is an experience you'll never forget.