Cornelius Chapel Records
Suspenseful and Evocative Country-Folk From The Dark Heart of Americana.
Some albums aren’t as ‘instant’ as others; they have to be cherished, and allowed to grow on you at their own pace…… which is something I don’t have a lot of….’time’ that is; but there was definitely ‘something’ about this album that has made me keep coming back to it; and on Sunday afternoon ‘click’…I finally got it.
Straddling the Country/Folk divide Austin Lucas has a warm, distinctive and almost Latino’ voice looks back on the tormented small town life of his own youth on the stark title track Immortal Americans which is the first track here; and sadly it will still resonate with outsider-teens today; which is sad indictment of the society we all find ourselves living in.
I’m not aware of Lucas’s previous six albums; but it’s probably fair to say this is the one he has chosen to pour his heart out, in a style that combines the rawness of Jason Isbell, Tom Paxton and latter day Steve Earle at times.
Nothing here is particularly ‘easy on the ear’ and nor are the songs meant to be; for instance My Mother and The Devil and especially Marie and The Shadow are soul-searching at the extreme; with the latter being about the time he found a growth oh his girlfriend’s back that turned out to be cancerous; and is so starkly fragile you will hold your breath while you listen, for fear of missing a word or note.
Mercifully not everything is quite so dark; there is much ‘light’ too; albeit in a Folky way that may not be quite so literal; although Goat & Goose may be a true story; but I somehow doubt it. brings me back to Happy;which may not be quite what you expect from the title; but is certainly a Master Craftsman songwriter at the top of his game.
Even when I was struggling to get my head around this album, there were two particular songs that kept drawing me back time and time again; hence both the cerebral Killing Time, with it’s jaunty beat coupled to a steel-guitar that sounds like it’s being played with a Bowie knife and the darkly brooding Monroe County Lines tie for the title of RMHQ Favourite Song; as both are quite incredible songs that will sadly miss most people by; but those who ‘get them’ will clutch this album to their bosom and never let go such is the power in Austin Lucas’s writing.
I guess that is the real beauty of this album; the actual songs themselves; which may sound an odd thing to say, but each song unravels bit by bit everytime you hear them, slowly letting you into a dark world of shadows that you may not have been aware of; but eventually finding yourself entwining your soul around each deeply sensitive and occasionally sensual line and stanza from the pen of Austin Lucas.
Released November 23rd 2018