John Fullbright: Songs

johnfullbright

 If you’re going to call an album Songs, and dress it in a no  frills black and white cover that’s a stranger to art direction, you’d better make sure those songs are good.

In the world of Americana – a stripped down amalgam of country, blues and roots – the songs are what matters. There’s precious little emphasis on image; artists live or die by their tunes and lyrics.

Fullbright is a rising star of the genre – the 26-year-old’s 2012 debut From the Ground Up was nominated for a Grammy for best Americana album – and Songs promises to go one better.

It’s full of what sound like instant classics – tunes you’d swear blind you’ve heard a thousand times already on first spin – and astute observations on the pain of loss and the power of songwriting.

Opener Happy (“Won’t you tell me what’s so bad about happy?” he asks, not unreasonably) is one highlight while the brilliant Going Home recalls 1970s Neil Young in its tribute to finding redemption through music (“when I left I had a choice, lose my mind or lose my voice”).

Mostly it’s a case of one man and his guitar (with some harmonica thrown in for good measure) but he’s just as effective when plugging in the band (the addictive Never Cry Again).

Like this? Try these: Bruce Springsteen, Tunnel of Love; Townes Van Zandt, The Late Great Townes Van Zandt

 

By Andrew Greenhalgh

twitter: @adjgreenhalgh

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