If this bad weather is a punishment then I don’t mind the curse
I like to sit in the window sill and watch it get worse
Carl Lorusso Jr. returns this month with a seven-track project that will almost certainly remind you of the power and beauty of intricate, artistic, poetically clever, unusual songwriting – and organic, naturally soulful musicianship.
Six Ton Burden Blues opens the show starts off slowly – the voice you’ll recognise if you’ve heard his previous single release. As things builds – the chorus of vocals offers a superb layer of warmth that contrasts wonderfully with the lyrical content, and then there’s the lyrical content itself. On top of everything, Lorusso Jr. writes lyrics that you daren’t miss a word of. The pictures he paints, both metaphorical and literal, are fascinating, and they captivate in a Leonard Cohen fashion – the sort you just don’t seem to find all too often among mainstream music. And this is all true of this project before the second track has even finish.
Fishing with Pirates is an equally beautiful and creative song, though a different mood emerges – a touch of melancholic energy contrasts again with a joyfully upbeat musicality. As always, the lyrics hold tight to your attention, pouring through at pace and great density – making you likely to replay the whole thing just to recapture the moment and make sure you got it all. Conceptually the songs throughout this EP are almost certainly nothing like you’ll have been prompted to consider elsewhere.
Back to Her is a stunning song, simple and beautiful, thoughtful and offering a certain delicacy and a slightly softer, perhaps more vulnerable leading vocal delivery – one that suits the mood and the song’s sentiment in a genuine manner. As the piece builds it begins to feel like a long lost classic – the sort of timeless folk-country crossover that brings everyone together to reflect and ponder and sing.
In terms of more recent musical legends, this album and indeed much about Lorusso Jr.’s sound pleasantly reminds me of Ben Caplan. The voices each have this depth and personality to them that seems inherently and authentically connected to what they sing and the ideas they present. Crooked Die in particular gave off a quality reminiscent of Caplan that really brought home the fact that a live show from Lorusso Jr., either solo acoustic or with a full band, is where these songs would really come alive. The simple Americana shuffle and the story telling, even the melodic simplicity, all of this has a very classic or vintage feel to it. Don’t let this detract from the strength of the lyrics though, as these are some of the most revealing and interesting of all.
The glorious and strangely uplifting but darkly observational Garden of Doubt makes a fitting appearance on the EP and breaks up the arrangement with a moment of gentle, colourful acoustic folk-pop. Black Horizon follows and adds a country and blues shuffle to the playlist that feels enjoyably inspired by the likes of Johnny Cash. Conceptually again, Lorusso Jr. paints those pictures that feel smart and familiar but are undoubtedly, somehow, completely new.
Arrangement-wise this release has been really well built. Rust finishes things off by driving with an impressive and immediately lovely guitar part, the melody and general idea that follow have a simplicity that meets the energy level well and allows you to calm down entirely as the moment washes over you. It’s a near-meditative experience that ends the journey in a soothing, peaceful way. These thoughts of rain and rust, enjoying the thunder – every reference in fact, feels perfectly suited to the way the music makes you feel.
Make sure to find the time to listen to this EP in full. Carl Lorusso Jr. has that special something that music fans have missed lately – this organic, soulful, natural ability to embrace and entrance the listener. Feeling all at once familiar and fresh, the songs brighten your view of modern music and remind you of the wonder that still well and truly exists.