CALIFORNIAN SINGER-SONGWRITER LOOKS OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY TO LAY HIS FEELING ON THE LINE.
“Don’t hide the melodies from your soul,” intones this Modesto artist in the desperate title track of his debut record, and that’s what Nathan Ignacio does here, shedding a “one-man band” approach in favor of a full-band album where his multi-instrumentalism has all the support his songs need to hit hard even without a graphic novel the musician came up with to accompany the aural experience. And quite an experience it is!
At its start, out of tentative strum emerges a cinematic shimmer of “She Never Knew” and Ignacio’s spoken intro makes room for a scintillating reverie, where, spurned with sensual electric guitar, reminiscences are streamed before the listener like an Appalachian river, the song’s fluid lines caressing the ear. It’s only logical for this piece to be followed by “I’m Not Broken” – a brief, bluegrass-styled confession of Nathan’s vulnerable resilience – and “Weathered” whose unhurried twang and harmonica heighten the performer’s sweet pain.
Yet there’s also communal spirit in “Blame It On The Heartache” to turn the middle-eight drama into hoedown and wrap sadness into merriment, although the dance will begin in earnest when fiddles strike to relocate Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” to Tennessee. Still, the resolution comes with the bluesy vigor of “Broken Hands” – a dirty, drums-driven number that must open the artist’s soul in its entirety – but it’s too late to latch onto such an energetic lament, as the album runs out right after this cut is surrendered to silence… to set up the scene for the next one. Hopefully, Nathan’s going to deliver a sophomore record soon enough.