American Shores is a light and uplifting collection of songs from a writer and musician with a heartfelt and delicate lust for life and for making music. You can hear from the ease with which he performs the opener So Much More that there’s a carefree and colourful passion here for the creating and performing, and this energy comes through consistently throughout the project. There’s a classic and deeply nostalgic feel to many of the sounds, the instrumentation is wonderfully organic, taking inspiration from country and acoustic folk music, and the melody and the artist’s leading voice work beautifully in unison to provide that essential humanity and genuine warmth that wraps things up with realness and style.
If You Come With Me continues the experience with the immediately familiar sound of Bokar’s musical expression. His creative freedom comes through so intensely, yet the soundscapes within this project are so tender and comforting; to listen is to feel the warm embrace of the sound. It’s inspiring to witness the uplifting energy of the music and the positivity embedded within the lyrics, it motivates you in a subtle way – not forcing influence upon you but highlighting how beautiful things can be if you simply give them space and let them shine.
The pace picks up a little for So Long, as does the intimacy – with a certain openness regarding relationships and desire leading the way as this soulful melody and country soaked rhythm unfolds around you. The song marks a rise in energy and passion, the leading voice comes through with more volume and urgency here, there’s a confidence and swagger to the sound that showcases another side to the songwriter and performer. It’s an equally bright and wonderful song, and these multiple artistic traits simply indicate again and again the relentless connection between the musician and his music.
Things veer off in an unexpected direction once again for Don’t Let It Go. The countrified leading riff takes the reigns once more, that recurring sound of the acoustic banjo adding to a number of threads between songs, but there’s a smooth and jazz-like ambiance here, as well as an unusual and slightly industrial sounding beat. The creativity speaks volumes as always, and the chorus sections now provide a calming choir of distant melodic whispers that echo in the air.
Sunny Day marks the fifth and final track of the collection, and the brightness comes out in full force – rightfully so for a song with such an optimistic title. This closing song brings about everything you’ve grown to love in the sound of Pascal Bokar’s music. The meeting of these elements, the joy of a creatively free chord progression and carefree expression of musicianship. The riffs have a mind of their own in some ways, but are always professionally in keeping with the mood and the moment as it passes by. It’s a gorgeous way to finish, not overwhelming you with complex story telling, but purely letting the peacefulness and artistry of the instrumentation and the power of the human voice create the entire soundscape around you.