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Rivulets, "You Are My Home"

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The beautiful photographs of little houses in the countryside capture the vibe of You Are My Home succinctly. The album very much encapsulates the feeling of being very small in a wide open space, unable to do anything but sit and take in the splendor of the surroundings. Nathan Amundson's songs are deceptively simple. They are gentle but with a hidden strength that only occasionally erupts (and when it does come through it is impressive to say the least).

 

Important

The majority of the songs are fine examples of songcraft. Amundson is joined by an all-star group of musicians (featuring the likes of Jessica Bailiff; Chris Brokaw of Come, The New Year, Pullman and more; and Shellac’s Bob Weston) who are well able to flesh out his compositions into gorgeous productions. “Happy Ending” which not surprisingly sits near the end of the album is a stunning piece, although despite the name there are more melancholy feelings present than happy ones. This song is not alone as nearly all the pieces capture a delicate and lovely sadness.  To me the songs are not sad songs but they capture a feeling that is at the same time wonderful and despondent. I hesitate to use the word duende but it is a similar feeling. It is that same feeling of being snuggled up under the blankets after a long day and the rain is beating against the window.

From time to time the musicians flex their muscles on songs such as “Can't I Wonder” and “Win or Lose.” The former is a slow burner where the final third or so of the song is where it lets loose. On the latter, when the trumpet kicks in, the song gets lifted up into this realm of beautiful simplicity that is hard to hit. Here the convention would be to let the trumpet rise and rise until it overcomes the listener but there is a tight leash on Weston's trumpeting so the effect is not spoiled. On both songs, the pace is quicker than on the other songs which gives them extra exuberance (but still maintaining the almost despondent aura of the album).

You Are My Home is one of those albums that I am delighted to discover (I use the term “discover” loosely, it is not like I found it in a basement under a pile of James Last records) and will no doubt plague my friends into hearing. This is an absolute gem of an album and I cannot stop playing it.

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Last Updated on Monday, 18 December 2006 00:27  


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