Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Goodbye Before Hello

We don't review music all that often, but every once in a while something truly new and exciting drops into our laps, and we have to share.

The 21st century has been a boom time for aficionados of alternative folk.  Starting with Ani diFranco's quick witted debut in 1997, we were then introduced to the twanging Avett Brothers and the pining Damien Rice in 2002, the stirring Brandi Carlile in 2005, the incandescent Basia Bulat in 2007, and the rockstar Mumford and Sons in 2009.  Well, we can now add to that list the soulful Will Lowe.

In his stunning debut album Goodbye Before Hello, we are treated to ten songs that run the gamut from ballad to elegy to anthem.  Lowe sings and plays these songs with passion and poise, and his voice has both the strength of a lion and the tenderness of a lamb.

Lowe also makes daring and unusual choices with his lyrics.  In the song Perfect Blend, he sings: "Through the years its been my honor to call you my wife / a P and J for balance to grow / patience to soften the edges."  As Mr. Lowe points out in his liner notes: "The 'P' and 'J' in the song come from the Myers Briggs Temperament Analysis inventory and are not peanut butter and jelly."  Given our affection for the applications of Myers-Briggs® personality chart, we had to point out that lyric.

From the liner notes, Lowe also gives an unusually detailed level of detail about his inspiration for the songs.  From Nicole Brown's mother dealing with the loss of her daughter, to two songs inspired by his own daughters, his wife, horses, Chinese medicine, and seeing two shy people in a bookstore who say goodbye without ever first saying hello.

Our favorite songs on the album are "Goodbye Before Hello," a beautiful bittersweet ballad, and "You're Just Magnificent," a snappy 2 minute anthem that I wish existed as a 20-minute long Meatloaf-esque mini rock opera.

We're in a golden age for alternative folk.  Will Lowe's Goodbye Before Hello is a shining addition.

You can check it out on CD Baby or iTunes.

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