John Ralston is masterful at shaping the voice of his guitar and painting sentiment through his words. New Times has already recently recognized his narrative talents -- earlier this year, we named him "Best Songwriter." So it's no surprise how much we enjoyed Ralston's latest solo album, Shadows of the Summertime.
As the story goes, the LP was recorded with Michael Seaman over a span of five days in a strip plaza church turned recording studio, Listen Up! Studios in in New Orleans. Seaman also produced the album with David Vandervelde, of Secretly Canadian and Wilco fame.
A standout lyric from track number six, Pretty Little Heart, examines the fleeting nature of emotions. (This is, more or less, the overarching theme of the entire album.) As a galloping guitar leads up to the reveal, Ralston sings, "I fought with hope and faith and trust, before I ever came to love."
The LP is aptly titled, keeping a sonic foothold in summery sounds. It conjures images of driving through the countryside on a sunny day, windows down with a hand out just to feel the fleeting breeze pass through your fingertips. Just for a moment, all that matters is feeling a glimpse of beauty.
Kramer, legendary musician and producer of such talents as Daniel Johnston, and Will Oldham, has said, "I love this LP. It's just beautiful."
Our feelings, exactly.
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