Darkly Eloquent Stories From Lonely Street, Nashville.
Here’s a funny story.
After struggling to get my head around the new album from Nashville ‘go to’ Singer-Songwriter Ruston Kelly over a couple of weeks; and then spending two valuable hours last Saturday writing a review of it; I found out that the music I’d been listening to wasn’t Ruston Kelly at all!
Somehow I had misfiled the album on my computer ……so there’s now a ghost review awaiting an actual artist!
So……Ruston Kelly and DYING STAR?
Opening song Cover My Tracks is certainly windswept and interesting; as a world weary singer with a ‘lived in voice’ takes us on a journey into the darker recesses of Ryan Adams and Justin Townes Earle territory; and the outcome is rather beautiful too; especially when he sings “These are the golden years/Thought I’d never find em.” in such a droll voice.
That pervading mood becomes ever more intense, starting with next song Mockingbird which has a poetic feel to Kelly’s touching, yet angsty love song and later on with the sparse Just For the Record too.
While I can’t really imagine anyone other than Ruston Kelly singing the plaintive Blackout or the self-depreciating Faceplant; when he starts it with “I took too many pills again/Blacked out for a week/Didn’t eat/Didn’t sleep/Came too and did it again” …… but then again; as it unfolds into a song of hope perhaps I can.
The subject matter of Kelly’s songs is fascinating; with Paratroopers Battlecry being a heartbreaking look back at his younger days and loves; and the song that really touched my heart Big Brown Bus being a tale of abject loneliness as the narrator travels across Texas on said mode of transport.
Hmmmm; it’s fair to say after only half a day every song here could be my Favourite Song; but I’ve somehow whittled it down to a straight choice between two…… Brightly Burst Into Air, simply because it’s a very articulate and vulnerable Country Folk song and the other is the title track Dying Star; which is just plainly different from everything I expected from a ‘Country’ album; but one that goes some way to redefining the genre.
I realise better than anyone that there are a zillion singer-songwriters on the scene these days and all have their merits; but now (I’ve finally) heard it, DYING STAR is one of those rarities; it’s ‘immediate’ with Kelly’s distinctive voice coupled to a classic story telling style making you believe these songs have been in your life forever.
PS I will only mention it now; as she has nothing to do with the recording of these songs Ruston Kelly’s wife is Kacey Musgraves; so there.
Released September 7th 2018