Storyteller finds his voice and a host of tunes
We all have our own taste in music and I know to my cost, that you can’t always get everyone to like your own personal favourites; but with someone like Markus Rill I fail to see what’s not to like.
His latest album, MY ROCKET SHIP is another series of short stories set to music; and when I say ‘music’ Rill entwines the best Country melodies with a Rock attitude but without the ponderous caterwauling or boring guitar solos so favoured by Nashville these days.
The album opens with Free to Fly; a punchy self-depreciating song about the trials and tribulations of a struggling musician, but the rocking beat and fiery fiddle playing makes it a real foot stomper.
There’s some kind of terrible beauty to The Facts About My Life which has Rill sounding uncannily like Springsteen as he confesses; ‘I’m 31 years old/and keep a flashlight by my bed/ still get scared of the dark/sometimes’ and ‘I had viral meningitis when I was only 8 months old/I look different from all the other kids/I never grew taller than 4 feet 9’ in a song inspired by someone called Laura Kinney. Not only is the song touching; but it’s thought provoking too, which doesn’t happen often enough these days.
When I first heard the title track My Rocket Ship it genuinely took my breath away and made me play it four times consecutively. Very simple in structure with Rill’s world weary voice sighing, not singing over a soft back-beat and pedal steel has the singer using his guitar and the ability to write songs with it as a window to every dream a boy has ever had including ‘this guitar is a time machine/brings my mother back to me/if only for a little while.’ Why hasn’t anyone done this before? Or have they?
As with most Alt-Country musicians of his generation it’s taken Markus Rill a while to find his own voice; even though he wears his influences (Springsteen? Earle? Bryan Adams even?) but on the finale his writing smacks of Guy Clark and the band could easily be the Pure Prairie League as he pays homage to his favourite songwriter of all time; The Late Great Townes Van Zandt which just may be the finest love song I’ve heard this year.
As Rill says in his biography not all of the best Country music comes from Nashville these days; and in my own opinion very little is actually coming from the US; with Canada and the UK producing some amazing singers, bands and songwriters and in the case of Markus Rill; his country of origin – Germany shouldn’t count against him when it comes to radio play and record sales. He’s a star in the making.
Blue Rose BLUDP0592