Close to You

Close to You

There’s a certain vintage pop perfection in the songbook of Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and South African vocalist-guitarist Jonathan Butler gives it a contemporary spin here, with catchy beats and layered production. He opens with an instrumental, foregrounding his expressive nylon-string guitar and channeling influences like Earl Klugh, an approach he returns to on “I Say a Little Prayer” (scatting with his outro solo à la George Benson). But Close to You is primarily a vocal album. Butler digs in with a silky, soulful delivery throughout, tackling ballads like “Alfie” and “Walk on By,” midtempo numbers like “The Look of Love,” and upbeat cookers like “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again.” In a departure, he also includes his original “Cape Town,” and concludes with a beautifully scaled-down guitar-and-bass rendition of “A House Is Not a Home.”

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