DOWN LIFE BOULEVARD
Stripped Back, Sparse and Simply Beautiful Americana From an Italian Duo.
Just like last year RMHQ is currently inundated with new albums to review, with quite a few even being from household names (at least in our household) so actually choosing something to review can sometimes be difficult; then along comes something like DOWN LIFE BOULEVARD to blow us away.
The Nowhere Brothers are Nick Ventolini and Roberto Fiorelli, both originally from Italy and meeting in the city of Trieste before moving on and around the world with one now based in the rainy Latin Quarter of Leeds, Yorkshire and the other in the US of A; which is a chemistry that somehow conjure up images and music of the dusty back roads of the American Southern states that will make Ry Cooder and John Hiatt look over their shoulder.
The quaintly monikered song Nowhere Brothers opens the record with some intricately strummed acoustic guitar and a whispery harmonica before a road worn and leathery voice slides in and out on a song so atmospheric I found myself rubbing imaginary Arizona dust from eyes as the last verse filtered across the airwaves.
That laid back and often sparse mood pervades throughout with Peace and especially Soul Mirror conjuring up memories of Bruce’s Nebraska/Tom Joad albums with their stark and poetic lyrics, stinging harmonica and duelling acoustic guitars.
I’ve said it many times before that the ‘romance’ we feel towards Americana from across the Atlantic possibly makes for more authentic Roots music than what is actually coming out of Nashville and Austin these days; and The Nowhere Brothers prove my point exactly with Used Boots which nods towards early Tom Russell; but with some liquid electric guitar behind an imaginative story; and it’s a similar feeling that the quasi-political Dust Walker brings to proceedings…….”Fool Man/You’ll never stop alignin’/Flags and pledges have no meanin’/Pure Brainwashin’/But it’s too late/No matter where your Soul is. And the slide guitar therein ain’t too shabby either!
On an album that I expected very little from when it arrived, there are beautiful surprises around every corner with one song in particular taking my breath away each time I’ve played it, Montenegro Diaries is the type of deep and meaningful acoustic song that gives Americana a good name and defies the thousands of miles between where it was based and where it was actually written.
From the excellent artwork and accompanying booklet through to the actual songs themselves The Nowhere Brothers have delivered a musical time bomb that deserves to blast them to the top of the burgeoning Americana and Alt. Country movement that is currently sweeping across Europe.
Released December 4th 2017