John Fullbright, Songs (Blue Dirt Records) *****

John Fullbright, Songs (Blue Dirt Records) *****

John Fullbright, Songs (Blue Dirt Records) *****

First published in CD reviews by

FULLBRIGHT’S assured debut, From The Ground Up, marked him out as a musician to look out for. The follow-up cements such hopes, although it does so by taking a different direction.

While his debut album was full-blown Americana, with huge Dylanesque story songs such as Moving and Jericho, Songs is mostly stripped back and simple, with Fullbright accompanying himself on piano, wurlizter or guitar. His voice, strong on the debut, is even more powerful here on opener Happy (lovely, but out of tune with its subject matter: and with whistling included), the lovely She Knows, the mournful Until You Were Gone and the pristine, hymn-like All That You Know.

The One That Lives Too Far calls on other musicians in tale of love lost – and, judging by the lyrics throughout, the 26-year-old Fullbright has been through the relationship mill. Last track High Road is a short-story song built round the traditional tune. The pared-back approach here shows that Fullbright is prepared to take risks rather than reheat what he has already served up.

 

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