Categories Album Mission Creep Music Review

Damian Lewis Transcends Expectations with Mission Creep

Proves a Successful Actor-Turned-Musician Gambit

by David Nobakht | Buzz Magazine | June 22, 2023

Mission Creep (Decca)

Whenever a successful actor makes an album, there will always be a high level of scrutiny and the sound of naysayers scraping their chairs at what is often perceived as being a superfluous vanity project made between trips to Hollywood – but Homeland and Wolf Hall star Damian Lewis’ Mission Creep breaks that mould. Growing up with Kerouac’s On The Road under one arm, Stones and Zeppelin albums under the other, Lewis travelled through Europe busking long before he could be seen on stage or screen.

His singing voice on Mission Creep lies somewhere between Gene Clark and Scott Walker, as the songs dip their toes into bluesy rock, folk and jazz. Fragile, folk-immersed opener ‘She Comes’ is worth the price of admission alone, as is ‘Down on the Bowery,’ and ‘Makin’ Plans’ is a song the Stones themselves might be proud to have under their belt. It’s evident that Lewis is both a passionate and accomplished songwriter, and his cover of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon is a beauty too.

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Rolling Stone: Damian Lewis on His Solo Album

‘Down On The Bowery’ Effortlessly Shows Capability of Lewis’ Voice and His Commitment to the Craft

by Nick Reilly  | Rolling Stone Magazine UK | June 22, 2023

As he releases his debut album, acting royalty Damian Lewis tells Rolling Stone UK why he’s under no illusions about proving himself as a musician. Damian Lewis has opened up on releasing his first ever solo album and why he’s ready to deal with any cynicism that his latest venture might attract.

Last week saw the Band of Brothers star release ‘Mission Creep’, a record of largely roots-y Americana, backed by an accomplished band of eclectic musicians. One stand-out highlight comes in ‘Down On The Bowery’, which effortlessly shows out the capability of Lewis’ voice and his commitment to the craft.

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Mission Creep Album Review: Clash Magazine

A More-Than-Admirable Passion Project: Lush Blues Sound

by Robin Murray  | Clash Magazine | June 19, 2023

Mission Creep

The actor-turned-musician pathway is well worn by this point. Numerous stars of stage and Silver Screen have swapped their scripts for microphone stands, and it can sometimes feel like a diversion – a sort of adult gap year, in other words. Damian Lewis, however, is a little different; music was his first love, and in his youth he travelled across Europe, busking as he went. A perennial source of comfort and inspiration, in a way it’s a wonder the actor hasn’t recorded a full length project before.

‘Mission Creep’ is a mixture of fortune, and chance. Introduced to Giacomo Smith – leader of revered London jazz troupe Kansas Smitty’s House Band – Damian Lewis was able to build a band to augment his passions, allowing rock ‘n’ roll, blues, and jazz to sluice together. The songs on ‘Mission Creep’ – primarily original, with a smattering of covers – come from a personal place, offering tales of love, comfort, and loss.

While the performances aren’t about to reinvent the wheel, there’s enough here to certify ‘Mission Creep’ as a more-than-admirable passion project. The lush blues sound of ‘Zaragoza’ for instance perfectly blends his whisky-parched vocal with the excellent band surrounding him, while something like ‘Down On The Bowery’ has a trenchant sense of atmosphere.

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Mission Creep Album Review: Music OMH

An Enjoyable Collection of Well Crafted Songs

by John Murphy | Music OMH | June 17, 2023

Mission Creep

An enjoyable collection of well crafted songs, mostly self-penned, defy expectations for a debut album from a successful actor. It’s easy to be cynical about seeing yet another middle-aged actor deciding that it’s not enough to be wildly successful in their chosen field. No, what they really want to do is music. History is littered with such characters – in the last few years alone, Kiefer Sutherland, Russell Crowe and, famously, Johnny Depp have all turned their hand to rock music, with varying degrees of success.

You sense that Damian Lewis, best known for roles in TV shows like Band of Brothers, Billions and Homeland knows this too. “It’s just what the world needs…another record by an actor” he’s said, while promoting Mission Creep. The fact that it’s another collection of ‘authentic’ bluesy rock is yet another reason to be wary.

And yet…against expectations, Mission Creep is actually pretty enjoyable. It may not be enough for Lewis to give up his day job, but it’s certainly a respectable collection of well crafted songs – most of which have been written by Lewis himself. His voice, while maybe not the strongest instrument, is full of soul and character, and when he tackles the more personal material on Mission Creep, you can see why this was a particular itch he had to scratch.

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Mission Creep Album Review: Financial Times

A Warm, Rich Debut

by David Cheal | Financial Times | June 16, 2023

Mission Creep ★★★★

When Damian Lewis made his acting breakthrough as a US army major in the second world war TV drama Band of Brothers, it came as a shock to many viewers to learn that he is British, such was the seeming authenticity of his American accent. Now, at 52, Lewis springs another surprise: he is a singer-songwriter of some distinction, here releasing his debut album.

The publicity blurb tells us that as a young man Lewis took off with a guitar and busked across Europe, and that he has long since yearned to return to making music. While the songs here are a long way from being “busked”, they nevertheless have a loose, rootsy quality, a sense of swing and spontaneity. Stylistically the album covers a broad spectrum, from folk-rock to jazz to glam, but its sonic palette — acoustic guitar, keyboards, saxophone and clarinet, bursts of electric guitar, stabs of Hammond organ — brings cohesion to this disparateness.

And then of course there’s the big question: Can he sing? There’s a chequered history of actors turning to music, some with success (Minnie Driver, Hugh Laurie), some less so (Russell Crowe). Lewis belongs firmly in the former camp, possessing a tenorish voice that’s firm and true, ascending at times to considerable heights. He can write a decent tune, too: most of the songs here are by Lewis, with a sprinkling of covers.

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Mission Creep Album Review: MOJO Magazine

Authentic Rootsy Debut Album

by John Aizlewood | MOJO Magazine | July 2023 issue

Damian Lewis
Mission Creep ★★★


Homeland actor’s authentic rootsy debut album.

In the ever-variable tradition of actors making records, Homeland/Billions star Damian Lewis is of the authenticity-seeking variety, i.e. he’s more Billy Bob Thornton than David Hasselhoff. This means covers of ‘Harvest Moon’ and, more predictably but more successfully, J.J. Cale’s ‘After Midnight,’ plus a clutch of warm, slightly jazzy originals in a similar rootsy vein. His voice is gently grizzled, whether adding grit to the otherwise supper-club ‘Wanna Grow Old in Paris’ or wigging out with reasonable conviction on ‘She Comes.’ Lyrically, he’s a touch too desperate for edge on ‘Soho Tango’ (“you took me to the toilet, gave me coke,” indeed); he seems to have a car accident in ‘Makin’ Plans,’ and there’s an all-round surfeit of sexual tension. But when everything gels on the excellent ‘Down on the Bowery’ and ‘Zaragoza,’ it’s really quite, yes, authentic.

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Mission Creep Album Review: Daily Mail

Heartfelt Songwriting Detour

by Adrian Thrills | Daily Mail | June 15, 2023

Mission Creep ★★★★

Damian Lewis knows exactly what he’s getting into here. ‘It’s just what the world needs… another record by an actor,’ says the film star, drily, of his new career as a singer-songwriter.

With fellow thespians Kiefer Sutherland, Hugh Laurie, Jeff Goldblum and Scarlett Johansson all having made albums in recent years — and Johnny Depp seemingly happiest with a guitar in his hands — he has a point.

But Lewis, 52, who played U.S. Marine Nicholas Brody in Homeland and Steve McQueen in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, is moving into music with honourable intentions, and his debut album, Mission Creep, is nothing like a vanity project or midlife crisis.

A contemplative set of rock, folk and jazzy grooves, it’s a heartfelt affair with a natural feel.

After coming up with the songs, without co-writers, in lockdown, Damian was introduced to the London-based jazz musicians of Kansas Smitty’s House Band by the septet’s saxophonist Giacomo Smith, and it’s they who provide the bulk of the richly-varied backing here, with Smith and slide guitarist Dave Archer to the fore.

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Damian Lewis on His Debut Album

“Sod that, why can’t I have a go at something else?”

by James Hickie | Music Week | June 14, 2023

You may know him as the star of TV shows like Band of Brothers, Homeland and Billions, plus films like Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, but Damian Lewis is adding another string to his bow in 2023. This week, he releases his debut album, Mission Creep, via Decca Records.

The journey to this point began a long time ago. A fan of everyone from John Martyn and The Rolling Stones to Velvet Underground and Eddie Cochran, Lewis tried to write songs in his early twenties before his nerves got the better of him. “I didn’t feel comfortable doing it,” he tells Music Week. “I didn’t know how to do it, I wasn’t confident.”

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Damian Lewis on His Unlikely Rock Reinvention

A Really Happy Accident

by Neil McCormick | The Telegraph | June 10, 2023

Photo by: Rii Schroer for Universal Music

For his next trick, the Wolf Hall and Billions actor is turning rock star – and this time he’s not pretending. “Why doesn’t he stick to acting?!” says Damian Lewis, in a wry pantomime of outrage. The 52-year-old star of hit TV dramas from Band of Brothers to Billions, via Homeland and Wolf Hall, is anticipating the reaction to his boldest career move to date: on Friday, Lewis will release a debut album of his own songs.

“We’re notoriously bad at ­changing lanes in this country,” he says. “I’m fully aware of how dangerous it is for me, tiptoeing into another area of the arts. It’s a bit like standing up on top of the parapet going, ‘Right, take your shots, everyone; throw s— at me!’ ”

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