Lone Star (album and book)
A Celestial Dreamscape of Folk-Pop Weaving a Spellbinding Story Defying Time and Space.
The end of the world as we know it!
Finding love across time dimensions?
WOW … this is a powerful new world that RMHQ has dropped me in!
Okay let me explain…. whilst lyrics are the icing on the cake for me, whether reviewing or purely listening to new music, to be handed an accompanying book with each song transformed into a fictional short chapter amounting to an apocalyptic, thought-provoking, imaginative and emotive story … is the cherry on top!
An old school concept album for our post pandemic era!
My hand is up and I’m taking the trip on this Norfolk based troubadour’s 5th album release.
The title track Lone Star charmingly launches the album. Without any prior knowledge of this artist, Paul Thompson’s vocals are instantly soothing, a touch fragile and underpinned in sensitivity. The hypnotic waltz melody of a bright pickin’ guitar welcomes us in like we’ve always been together, evoking the delightful simplicity of Folk-Pop songs of yesteryear but with a serenely relaxed timeless feel and pace. Lyrically it establishes the recurrent album themes of loss and separation, preserving hope and never abandoning the quest for happiness: the lone star being the symbolic beacon of connectivity.
“I know I’ve done wrong, I’ve done time
This love I seek will be mine
I’m a lone star, always shines bright
Waiting for you, in the night.”
You Never Said follows with upbeat strumming and a shimmering harmonious electric guitar solo, Mr Thompson has the power to musically suspend his audience in a delightfully comforting joyful trance, whilst communicating deep and challenging themes.
The words are reflective, full of regret for what has been lost, yet forever optimistic that a better world will be unearthed one day. The sentiments ring true especially when we learn that the whole album was inspired during Lockdown when the artist lived in a rural log cabin.
Worth also noting that with the exception of drumming courtesy of Rob Brian, he plays all the instruments on the album, making The Lone Star a very personal creation.
Close on it’s tail follows two irresistible tracks: Darling Will You is a declaration of love, a dreamier slower pace and steeped in the blissful loveliness of ’60s/’70s mystical B/V’s.
Paul Thompson’s vocals are gentle and heartfelt, as if just lifting the words fresh off the page and delivering them straight to his intended.
Maybe Tomorrow bounces in next with a leisurely, naturally sprightly sweet mandolin beat, it takes us clipping clopping down a lyrical path of going with the flow but still searching for what is important and true in life.
The storytelling binds the album together, each track adding another intriguing layer.
Track eight, From Where We Came, is oh so unstoppably catchy, with the singer holding long notes, reinforcing the song’s uplifting take on the passing of time, whilst exploring the theme of destruction and rebirth.
“Watch the colour turn, coat of fallen leaves
And I will think of you, will you come again
Though we fall, we are one
The tapestry of time
Fire and rain, earth and sky
We return again from where we came.”
My favourite track is actually the opener Lone Star, but a close runner up is Paradise Lost which shifts the mood to one of unrest: the electric guitar echoes with dramatic discord creating a foreboding tone. The words are a warning not to be tempted by dark choices in life.
Paul Thompson immediately returns us to a happy place with Under The Lights, a nostalgic melting pot of Christmas day memories as a child. The song has a charming naivety, a touch of Jonathan Richman for me here too.
Finally, the epic 7:12 min long Cloud Dreamer wraps up the adventure, an expressively pleasing conclusion with guitar reverb calling out in unison with the heavenly vocals, emphasising a dreamscape mood: Paradise can be discovered here on Earth if we look hard enough for it.
The accompanying book contains 12 bite size chapters, one representing each song, expanding on Mr Thompson’s imaginative lyrics. It is based on a post- apocalyptic Earth where humanity is starting anew after mankind destroyed the planet.
The love story between Daniel from the old world and Arzella many years into the future is guided by the Lone Star. Without giving away spoilers there are multiple parallels that we can all relate to. Preserving Mother Nature, allowing ourselves time to take stock and re-value what is truly important especially hits the mark at this point in time.
“Life is hard, she thought. We don’t always find the things we look for, but we must try”
Although containing some adult themes, the book has a wonderfully playful quality akin to The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, as the author expresses quite deep and poignant messages about the worst vices in our society by describing the greedy/evil behaviour of certain characters we encounter along the way. His clear message being that it is the kind, simple, non-materialistic heart-warming actions in life that are the key to unlocking a brighter world.
Paul’s world of music and stories undoubtably operate splendidly independently, yet together they really create an enchanting place to visit.
He is about to hit the road over the coming months to showcase the album, the songs accompanied by reading extracts from his book.
Some of the gigs will be from his campervan, complete with it’s own stage: I can’t imagine any nicer way to escape real life than to catch an outdoor show, sit under the stars on a warm Summer’s night and keep an eye out for The Lone Star myself.
Review courtesy Anita Joyce
Released 17th June 2022
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