This Road is the debut LP by one-to-watch Denise Sherwood, which features writing, production and instrumental contributions from Adrian Sherwood (On U Sound), Lee "Scratch" Perry, Mala (Digital Mystikz, Deep Medi Music), Mark Stewart (The Pop Group, Mark Stewart and The Maffia), Skip McDonald (Tackhead, African Head Charge, Little Axe) and Doug Wimbish (Living Colour, Tackhead). In addition to this extended family who came together to help her talent flourish, the album also features drums by the late Style Scott, who the singer lovingly recalls as my "my beautiful uncle."
Portraying dark themes and damaged characters through an empathetic filter of bittersweet optimism, This Road is a work of contrasts, which musically matches the mixed emotions felt in life. Bass pressure, contemporary club beats, nourishing roots music, sumptuous instrumentation and accessible, pop-schooled melodicism are woven together by her soothing but heavy-hearted voice, which is perfectly matured and full of depth.
Saturated in vibes and an ingrained cognitive understanding of recording, This Road is in part the product of childhood/teenage osmosis spent imbibing the sounds at her father Adrian Sherwood's On-U Studios. The impressionable youth gained an unparalleled education in music and also human nature, living in a house/studio where Lee Perry, Neneh Cherry, Jah Wobble, Big Youth, Little Annie, Style Scott, Tackhead, Bim Sherman and countless more made tracks.
Like an epic coming-of-age movie focussing on Denise's part in the ongoing On-U chronicles - charting her changing roles as daughter, musician, mother, lover and more - it's little wond.