The Blood and the River (LP) by LaTresa & the Signal

“The disciples were aboard a boat / Jesus slept alone…” croons LaTresa whilst her band the Signal dispatches a gorgeous bluegrass groove that is rich with a rare breed of American vitality in “Sea of Galilee.” This cornerstone track of their new album The Blood and the River is light and airy in its rhythmic construction, but its words deliver a walloping weightiness that will affect anyone with an ear for good gospel music. It’s not quite the free spirit that The Blood and the River’s title track is, but let’s face it – there aren’t all that many contemporary bluegrass bruisers that are. The swing is heavy, and the lyrics razor-sharp, brought to the forefront of the master mix by a powerhouse LaTresa, who sounds more in her element and comfortable in this record than she ever has before. “Bright Star,” the LP’s closing number, sways more than it swings, and though it doesn’t have as much heat in its harmonies as, say, “In the Valley” does, it brings us full circle in this third album from LaTresa & the Signal with a grace that no other song could have imparted.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/latresanashville/?tn-str=k*F

“My Prayer” took my breath away when I played this record all the way through the other evening, and it wasn’t by the strength of its lead vocal exclusively. LaTresa and her band relate to each other with a kindred emotiveness that is impossible to break down in this, or any, review; honestly, you have to listen to a song like this one, or the black and white “Now I Am Redeemed” (which shakes me to the core of my being despite its understated cosmetics) to really understand it. “The Valley with My Lord” has the most melodic angst of anything here, but it doesn’t sour the mood of “When I Cross the River” in the least. There’s lots of optimistic opulence to indulge in on The Blood and the River, with all of the tension that builds in the first half of the record coming to a head in the chirpy “Would You Walk with Jesus,” a song that I can definitely see becoming a hit single for LaTresa & the Signal if they choose to cut it as one.

Some gospel songs use words alone to illustrate the biblically-influenced narrative of the music, but in the case of “Lazarus,” the most inspired track of The Blood and the River’s first act, the lyrics only get us halfway to the promise land – the blushing string grooves take over from there. Both “Where Angels Abide (Russell’s Song)” and “The Mountain” at first seemed a bit too experimental in style compared to the other material here, but I wouldn’t have kept them off of this tracklist in an attempt to keep the music streamlined. LaTresa & the Signal are a very multifaceted group, and by and large, this latest release captures their identity as songwriters, and more importantly, as organic gospel players in an age where the majority of the genre has become populated by musicians who are anything but. In short, The Blood and the River is a homerun for this band, no doubt about it.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Latresa-Signal-Digital-Music/s?k=Latresa+%26+the+Signal&rh=n%3A163856011

Kim Muncie

Oliver Ray’s Out Passed Nowhere

Emerging from the shadows like a thief in the night, the somber string reverberations of “Edge City” invite us into a nearly ten minute-long closing epic that brings audiences full circle to where we first began in Oliver Ray’s Out Passed Nowhere, the debut album from the acclaimed singer/songwriter due out this June everywhere that independent music is sold and streamed. In our first look at his solo work, Ray incorporates both melancholic, Mark Lanegan-esque poeticisms alongside a wildly surreal, often atmospheric, backdrop of instrumentation that takes as much influence from country music as it does dark alternative folk. Out Passed Nowhere is both brooding and unforgivingly blunt, but at the end of the day, it’s a record that I would highly recommend picking up this summer, regardless of your personal taste in genres.

Some of the songs here, such as “Ready,” “Setting Sun,” and “Ol’ Coyote,” are more plaintive than others – namely the multilayered “Edge City,” monolithic “Wise Blood” and powerhouse “Bye Beautiful” – but all of the material exudes an irreverence that can’t help but remind a trained ear of Blood on the Tracks-era Bob Dylan (“Setting Sun” especially). Ray has a lot of regret in his voice, but it’s countered with optimistic melodies that, more often than not, shape the mood of the lyrics they’re soundtracking above anything else. It’s not all that difficult to get lost in Out Passed Nowhere, whether we’re listening to its songs in the arranged order intended by Oliver Ray or simply playing the record straight-through on shuffle.

Ray’s debut solo effort enjoys a really polished production quality, but I don’t get the impression that it was designed with mainstream radio rotation as its paramount creative goal. There are plenty of rough edges in “Best Game in Town” (which features an unforgettable duet between Ray and Patti Smith), “Bye Beautiful,” “Queen of Never” and “Ready” to keep the overall feel of the music from descending into plasticity, and there’s scarcely a moment where the lyrical content doesn’t feel genuine and heartfelt. If Oliver Ray hasn’t traveled the American countryside and met his fair share of storytellers and scumbags alike, then he does an awfully good job of acting the part in Out Passed Nowhere, which by and large depicts the fabric of a beautiful, flawed, complicated nation that we call the USA better than most any similarly-styled work that I’ve recently come in contact with has.

I’m very excited to hear more from Oliver Ray as he develops this new sound further. Out Passed Nowhere is a tremendously experimental debut album, and I sincerely hope that he continues to take the same fluid, unpredictable approach to songwriting as he does in this incredibly cerebral offering. Ray takes everything from psychedelia to blues, country and even a bit of gothic folk, rolls them all together and spits out some of the most chill-inducing sounds here that I’ve heard on a modern alternative record in quite some time, and if it’s any indication of what we can expect out his sophomore release, then this won’t be the last time that he’s scoring major points with critics like myself.

I-TUNES: https://music.apple.com/us/album/out-passed-nowhere/1460451571?app=itunes&ign-mpt=uo%3D4&ls=1

Kim Muncie

Richard Lynch’s Think I’ll Carry It On.(LP)

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/richardlynchbnd?lang=en

Gently, with a pendulous groove underpinning its immaculate melody, a guitar paints us a picture of a black and white world with kaleidoscopic colors in “Back in 1953,” one of the more patient ballads to behold in Richard Lynch’s Think I’ll Carry It On. It isn’t the lone example of the strings telling us a story of their own in this most recent release from the critically-acclaimed country singer; the sensuous swing of “They Don’t Play ‘Em Like That,” blustery bluegrass harmonies in “Daddy’s Guitar” and minimalist-style “Keyboard Cowboy” exude just as much expression in their instrumental prowess, and while Richard Lynch’s lyrics are a fetching facet of Think I’ll Carry It On, they’re only one component in this rich cocktail of modern country.

Lynch’s soulful drawl gets a lot of the spotlight in his duet with Leona Williams, “Another Honky Tonk Song,” as well as the big-riffing “Fast Times and Easy Money,” “Pray on the Radio” and upbeat “We’re American Proud,” but it never makes the musical backdrop any less captivating of a feature. One of the reasons why I think this album is such a stand out this summer is because of its multidimensional style, which is a bit of an anomaly amidst the output of Lynch’s contemporaries both in and outside of Nashville. He’s not overindulging in any of his most attractive attributes, but there’s definitely an easygoing, freeform fashioning of this material that wasn’t present in his last album, 2017’s addictive Mending Fences.

Some might take it as a disrespectful remark, but I don’t think Richard Lynch would argue with me when I say that Think I’ll Carry It On has virtually nothing in common with the alternative country movement, at least as it currently stands. To me, this is another reason why it’s such a diamond in the rough; with fusions of surrealism and Americana becoming the new “it” thing to play in Nashville, Lynch’s new record is essentially a slab of top quality vintage twang that is unparalleled in today’s increasingly abstract country music climate. It isn’t that he’s trying to live in the past here, but more that he’s living true to the aesthetic of a genre that was built on the foundation of tradition with his latest record.

I only just recently got into Richard Lynch’s music, but I must say that after listening to Think I’ll Carry It On, I’m really excited to see him on stage in the future. As awesome a listen as this record is, I can imagine its contents being ten times more enveloping and engaging live and in-person. This material that was designed to get an entire crowd on their feet, and with summer soon to be in full swing, it makes for an amazing soundtrack to a freewheeling road trip or a night beside a roaring beach bonfire just the same. Think I’ll Carry It On is an aptly titled album that is a testament to the eternal influence of a legendary generation of singer/songwriters, troubadours and cowboys who made America the great nation that it is today.

GET A COPY: https://store.cdbaby.com/Artist/RichardLynch2

Kim Muncie

Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush releases new LP

Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush are a band out of Seattle, Washington, with a unique take on the current state of United States politics. Rather than taking the traditional dystopian approach – this four-piece rock band combines folk, disjointed rhythms and harmonies to create a sometimes wistful, but trippy collection of songs in their seven-track album, MAABA (Making America All Better Again).


FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/thestardustcrush/

Out of the gate is “Alien Anthem”, a just over two minute garbled, static concoction. It has electronic burps mixed with a science fiction-like flare. The ending of the tune is the sound of crickets along with helicopter chops. It’s very strange, but perhaps that’s the point. It seems to set the stage for a very bizarre encounter, just as the state of affairs the world is currently in.  

The title track is trippy. Still, it has a memorable guitar riff – very bright and melodic. The guitar work also has an underlying sadness. The lyrics “put the Cheeseburger in me/ put Fox News on the TV …oh poor me…,” seem to paint this idea that the fast food nation has given a 99-cent menu item on liberty and the United States’ constitution. What is surprising is the distorted sounds and creative sound effects. This song, taken out of context, might be a very happy tune. It’s not dark and dreary.

“Mrs. Liberty” has some real soul to it and really stands out on MAABA. Beautiful, female backing vocals culminate on the chorus: “Tell me now what I should do, Mrs. Liberty / what should I do / do you have a place for me?” It’s wonderful harmony.

“Thoughts and Prayers for the N.R.A”, “Vote For Change” and “Pink Hat” all have similar vibes and points of inspiration. The final song “Golden Hair and the Ghost of Christmas Future” celebrates the quirkiness and artistic platform Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush seem to excel. According to their bio, influences like R.E.M. and Bob Dylan inspired their foundation. These are especially evident in “Pink Hat” and “Golden Hair.”

So what does all this mean? It means a band like Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush amplify the anxieties and the uncertainties in the year 2019, and capture the spirit of American artists giving the symbolic middle finger to what’s happening in Washington D.C. It means they are a band that stands for something and more than creatively tells a story that it’s not okay what’s happening and that it’s something that if you’re not paying attention, then you better.

REVERBNATION: https://www.reverbnation.com/chill76

Christopher Hill & The Stardust Crush’s MAABA doesn’t fit into a formula. They are a boundless band and could easily fit alongside a punk band, a spoken word festival or even a world music concert event. They have a voice. It’s a strong voice and while some might be turned off by the political nature, it’s worth listening to songs like “Mrs. Liberty” and “Pink Hat” at the very least for interesting percussion twists, exceptional harmonies and a whole lot of musical firsts.

Kim Muncie

Dane Maxwell makes it look all too easy

A debut single can be the hardest track that an artist will ever record, but Dane Maxwell makes it look all too easy in his rookie release, the anti-bullying ballad “Where I’m Seen.” Maxwell steps up to the microphone with an unrehearsed confidence that could become a signature element in his sound if he learns to harness all of its multilayered potential. His words dance against the silky string section without creating any discord; everything meshes together so well, and yet there’s a sense of improvisation here that makes the song seem even more heartfelt and honest than it originally would have been. Dane Maxwell is still getting his stripes as a solo performer, but in “Where I’m Seen,” he shrugs off the typical complaints that one would most frequently hear about virgin singles by doing what it would seem he was born to do – sing. This man has a voice that could turn the nutrition facts on the back of your cereal box into nuanced melodic glitter, and what’s even better is that he’s using his skills to do some real good for the world in this deeply moving debut track.

Maxwell’s devoted a significant part of his life to charitable work, and there’s no debating that his ideals bleed into every aspect of his music. “Where I’m Seen” doesn’t try to butter up the subject of bullying with any pithy, unfelt dialogue about social issues in general. Our leading man cuts through the nonsensical part of “the conversation,” as it’s been dubbed by the media, and gets right down to business here, and that’s definitely one of the more commendable acts I’ve seen in music lately. There are a lot of bandwagon artists making music about everything from abuse to environmental awareness right now, but I don’t feel like Maxwell is trying to cash in on our emotions with “Where I’m Seen.” Contrarily, if pressed for my opinion, I think that he’s more invested in this subject than the better part of his contemporaries in pop music are at the moment. Words like these don’t come from an A&R department executive’s pen; they come from life experiences that have now forged a formidable songwriter in Dane Maxwell.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/DaneMaxwell/

There are more than enough artists committed to their craft in 2019, but by contrast, there really aren’t that many as committed to the substance of their content as Mr. Dane Maxwell is, and that’s why I think that his debut single is such a strong contender for mainstream attention. He’s got the independent ethos that it takes to make a clean, uncorrupted piece of music with “Where I’m Seen,” and furthermore, he’s got the wit and wisdom of a well-traveled young man who will do whatever he has to do in order to make a difference in the world around him.

The combination is going to bring him a lot of credibility with both fans and critics that are even harder to please than I am, and render future recordings highly anticipated by anybody who can relate to the poetic content that fills his songs with so much love, kinship and solidarity. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll be staying tuned indefinitely.

Kim Muncie

The music of DANE MAXWELL has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here – http://www.daniecorteseent.com/

W.C. Beck releases self titled LP

Like a gentle breeze rustling the branches of an old willow tree, “The Long Way Home” has a way of dispelling all of the tension that would normally sully a perfect summer afternoon, and as I recently discovered, it isn’t the only song capable of such mysticism in W.C. Beck’s third album, First Flight, a deceptively titled record that sees its composer executing one flawless ascent into the sonic heavens after another. Beck sounds more in his element and relaxed than he ever has before right now, and while he’s become a favorite of critics like myself in the last few years, I don’t think that there’s room for debating whether or not this is the most accomplished and refined release of his career.

BANDCAMP: https://wcbeck.bandcamp.com/album/first-flight

“Powder Blue” and “Cathy Jo,” two of my favorite songs from First Flight, use completely opposing designs to ultimately achieve the same goal; bringing us closer to Beck’s point of view through little more than a simple string arrangement and some straightforward lyricism that leaves the frills on the sidelines. “Powder Blue” is the more riff-happy of the two, but even with its distorted fever pitch, it sounds as organic and poetic as the tender crooning of “Cathy Jo” does.

The understated guitar grooving in “A Place to Land” and “Unknown Bust,” along with the rampant riff assault of “Among the Waves,” are three excellent examples of Beck’s string play stealing the show in First Flight, and being a bit of six-string geek myself, I must say that this is some of the most aesthetically-pleasing tonality I’ve heard on an alternative country record in years. One is inclined to think of Drive-By Truckers’ A Blessing and a Curse when taking in the stray melodies occupying “Grey” and “(Holding on) To a Coast,” but at the same time I think that the comparison might be a bit dismissive of how original a sound all of this material possesses.

As far as the master mix goes, First Flight has a pretty muscular tracklist (acoustic ballads included), but I think it’s worth pointing out that the bottom-end, nor the treble, ever become aggressive. The slightly-scooped EQ brings all of the subtle color in the harmonies to the forefront of any given song, and subsequently makes it all the easier for us to appreciate the full-scope of W.C. Beck’s incredible sonic skillset. He’s got so much depth to his sound, and unlike many of his streamlined contemporaries in the industrialized Nashville scene, he isn’t afraid to exploit that depth for everything that it’s worth.

TWITTER: https://www.instagram.com/wcbeckmusic/

I’ve been following W.C. Beck for a while now, but I’ve found myself addicted to the music that he’s shared with us in First Flight in a way that I never would have expected. An artist of his stature demands respect whenever a new release bearing his name hits record store shelves, and for everything that I anticipated when I sat down to review this piece for the very first time, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that I was beyond impressed with what I heard. First Flight is a must-listen for longtime fans and newcomers alike – it presents us with an unfiltered examination of its creator like none other we’ve ever heard before.

Kim Muncie

Derek Davis – Resonator Blues (LP)

Derek Davis’ third solo release, Resonator Blues, is a departure from the soul and funk leanings of his previous solo outing Revolutionary Soul and his history of releases and shows with Davis’ longtime band Babylon A.D. The dozen songs included on this release are drenched in blues, but never the paint by numbers variety that inspires big blues fans to sigh in despair. Instead, even on the album’s cover tunes, you get a real sense of the man behind the music rather than a self-conscious performer ill suited for tackling such a time-tested style. The first track “Resonator Blues” spurs the album to a rousing start and the blazing slide guitar woven through the tune works well with the growl in Davis’ voice. It’s a great way to open the release and shows an assertiveness that continues for the entirety of the album.

“Sweet Cream Cadillac” is cut from a slightly different cloth. The blues influence is still very present, but the tone, vocal, and lyric content is closer to traditional rock than classic blues. Nonetheless, it is an excellent tune and a good example of how Davis successfully varies the pace and sound of Resonator Blues without ever taking the collection too far afield of his vision for the release. The song “Mississippi Mud” doesn’t come together all at once. Instead, Davis wisely builds the track, milking it for its inherent drama, and it has a lot of power once the full band is involved. Despite his Oakland, California upbringing, no one sane would ever say Davis wasn’t born, in some ways, to sing these sorts of songs. He is convincing in every respect.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/album/1mryDuyEqB3viPAXcIgKJt

The emotion of the fourth song “Penitentiary Bound” is blues through and through, but the music is more akin to traditional acoustic folk as Davis sits his slide aside for a while. It is, nonetheless, quite successful. Davis invokes his speaker’s regret and anguish without ever relying on bathos and cliché. His version of the classic blues “Death Letter” connects with all the pain and despair this standard demands thanks to his heartbroken vocal and the fluent slide guitar work adorning the song. It is a real measure of his value as a performer and interpreter that Davis can get under the skin of such songs and perform them as if he wrote them.

“Unconditional Love” has a rock and roll backbeat married to harmonica and slide guitar to memorable effect. It’s an out and out love song with strong lyrics and a burning vocal from Davis, but what sticks with me are the instrumental passages scattered throughout the song. Davis unleashes some scorching slide guitar runs during those passages that are difficult to forget. The penultimate tune, “Back in My Arms”, has definite swing and more of the album defining slide guitar that so many listeners will enjoy, but the final track “Prison Train” ranks among the album’s finest moments. It starts off as an acoustic tune before shifting gears into one of the fieriest displays of instrumental prowess heard on this album. Resonator Blues will strike the right chord for blues fans and may make a believer out of those who otherwise don’t listen to music like this.

Kim Muncie

Lauren Crosby delivers a musical treasure chest

With a sweet little swing, “You Don’t Need a Rose” infects the air with a confident swagger that listeners won’t be able to shake when taking in its decadent strings alongside the other ten tracks that Lauren Crosby’s I Said Take Me to the Water has in store for pop fans this spring. Driven by its lighthearted lyricism and freewheeling rhythm, “You Don’t Need a Rose” is a good sampling of what this latest record from the rising indie star brings to the table with it, but in the grander scheme of things, it’s only a taste of the evocative artistry that this phenomenal LP contains.

URL: http://www.lauren-crosby.com/

Country twang underscores the melodies in “Dead River Road,” “I Work, I Work, I Work” and the balladic “That Picture,” but I’m hesitant to label this album as being anything other than old school Americana fused with alternative folk music. Crosby has a lot more in common with vintage country/western singers than she does anyone in contemporary Nashville, but her sound has a crossover appeal that would make it an interesting listen for both hipster bohemians and fans of pastoral poetry alike – which, in itself, makes her a bit of a diamond in the rough nowadays.

The guitar tones in “Is That OK,” “Skylights,” “You Don’t Need a Rose” and “Why Are You So Blue?” are some of the swankiest that I’ve heard in a Lauren Crosby record, and they complement her smoky vocal wonderfully. The strings are telling us just as many stories as her pointed lyrical content is in these tracks, and there’s even a couple of instances where the music is a touch more emotionally expressive than the verses themselves are. Individually, these songs are all single-quality, but together they form a gripping cinematic adventure that’s fun for anyone who can appreciate a good, unvarnished groove.

“Sunshine in My Soul,” “Is That OK” and “Tak City” are more streamlined than the other tracks on this LP are, and they add to the fluidity of the tracklisting excellently. For as wide-ranging a palate as she’s working with, there’s no rigidity to the transition between these songs, and I would even go as far as to say that, thanks to this top shelf master mix, the record plays out more like a live performance than it does a mere set of studio recordings no different from any other seeing release this May. She puts a lot of stock into making the tonality of her instruments and the texture of their melodies the star of the show here, and that actually makes each of these tracks feel like an anthem in their own right.

YOU TUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/user/locro94

Tenacious, spunky and full of an honest lyrical wit that I’ve yet to hear in the output of her closest rivals, Lauren Crosby delivers a treasure chest of troubadour-style folk songs, crossover country tunes and blustery swing ballads in I Said Take Me to the Water that is sure to raise your spirits this spring. She’s built on the foundation of her last two records and adopted an exciting, experimental edge that I’m eager to hear more of, and once you check out this album for yourself, I think you’re going to be just as thrilled with her current artistic trajectory as I am.

Kim Muncie

Brandon Siegel – The Private Practice Survival Guide

One of the keys to making “self help” books, especially those of a decidedly professional nature, successful for readers is personalization. It is one thing to, essentially, consume a multi-hour lecture in text form, no matter how well composed, if there is no personal element present in the author’s presentation. It is quite another thing, however, to feel drawn into the life experiences that helped shape their philosophy and carried them to success in their chosen profession. Such experiences make us feel like we are part of something alongside the author and we connect with them in ways we cannot with otherwise dreary academics who approach the problem from an intellectual point of view alone. Brandon Seigel’s The Private Practice Survival Guide understands this quite well and, after only a few pages in, perceptive readers will possess a strong sense of the man behind this text.

ABOUT WELLNESS WORKS: https://www.wellnessworksmp.com/about/

The primary theme underlying the entirety of the book is the necessity of self-empowerment in achieving professional goals. The necessary change begins and ends with you alone. One of the earliest ideas in the book many readers may find compelling and thought-provoking is Seigel’s take on the idea of “exchange” – his insight into how this often constitutes much more than financial interaction is something many of us, myself included, often forget in our desire to accumulate, pay bills, plan ahead, and so on. Here, as elsewhere, Seigel lays out his concepts and ideas in a succinct yet conversational style that feels like a man truly invested in helping his readers reach their ambitions rather than a distant author enumerating ideas for his reading audience.

Seigel shares a number of stories along the way to help illustrate points he is trying to make but does so with brevity and style. These moments never threaten to overwhelm the book. The text likewise encourages self-anabasis at every turn via a variety of methods as a way of clarifying aspects of one’s self or defining attributes of your business in a concise, focused way. There is literally no part of this topic he fails to touch on. Seigel’s work explores why private practices often fail in great detail and through his own personal experiences, obstacles private practitioners face in establishing, maintaining, and growing their business, as well as other key subjects for consideration in setting up private practice – sexual harassment training, billing, and how to organize an effective and responsive Human Resources department.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Private-Practice-Survival-Guide-Journey/dp/1643399373

The Private Practice Survival Guide is a thoughtful and insight volume that, like many entries in this genre, has application to our everyday lives, not just the professional side of things. Brandon Seigel has incorporated a vast wealth of experience into a vision for how to set out on your own, fulfilling your professional ambitions, and reaching the multitude of goals such individuals often harbor inside. This well written book is a work readers can return to over and over as an invaluable reference for effective approaches to commonplace issues for entrepreneurs of all kinds.  

Kim Muncie

David Gelman releases new LP

In a velvety-soft guitar melody, David Gelman paints us a vivid picture of undying romance in “My Vows to You (Wedding Song).” With the aid of a pristine piano’s melancholic yearn, he conjures just as evocative a harmony in “Presence of the Lord.” Exotic percussive swagger drives the lush lyrical center of “In the Sun,” and though it’s not quite the swarthy swing of “Feel Alright,” it’s perhaps even more sumptuous in instrumental prowess. If you don’t find yourself falling in love with the mystical folk-rock rhythm of “Wasting Away,” then it might be a good idea to get yourself checked out by a doctor, as this track and the dozen others that join it in Gelman’s brand new album Last Surviving Son are packing an emotional punch unlike any other record that I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing this May. This indie singer/songwriter is on his third official LP, but he exhibits a youthful candor and earnest sensibility in his lyrics that has more in common with the output of a wide-eyed rookie than it ever does that of a jaded veteran on the country circuit.

There’s a lot of attention to detail in Last Surviving Son, with songs like “Let It All Go,” “Lonely Tonight,” “Far Away” and the title track sounding particularly crisp and concise. The harmonies never sound artificial or plastic-faceted; in fact, quite the contrary. Gelman does everything that he can here to make the subtlest of intricacies in his work – from a meticulously designed percussive part in “Soft Surrender” to the minimalist groove in “The Roads We Didn’t Take” – as much of a focal point as his own vibrant vocals are, which is something that many of his contemporaries have failed to do in their most recent efforts. He’s grown so much since his debut album All Roads Lead Here, and I think that his adoption of a more traditional Americana sound has brought out some of the best qualities in his skillset. There’s still some ground left for him to cover, but make no mistake about it – David Gelman is hardly the same artist that he was back in 2011 (he’s quite superior now).

PURCHASE LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Soft-Surrender/dp/B07R5CDCST

Those who enjoyed Gelman’s last LP Undertow are going to absolutely love what they discover in the thirteen songs that comprise Last Surviving Son, and listeners who were previously unaware of his talents but hunger for a fun strain of old fashioned Americana will probably share the same sentiment. He’s not trying to reinvent the wheel in tracks like “Set It Free” and “Feel Alright,” but there’s something to be said about the tribute that he pays to the classic American songbook here just the same. I’ve come to expect a lot out of this era in country music, and while David Gelman’s is only one of the many interesting stories to come out of the woodwork this spring, it’s definitely among the more inspired that I’ve personally come across as a music critic. He’s got a lot of potential as a performer, and he’s utilizing every one of his skills excellently in this record.

Kim Muncie