Hailing from Genoa, Italy, Ground & Leaves is a one-man project that writes simple songs on his acoustic guitar. While the concept certainly isn't ground breaking I don't feel like he ever felt it should be. What you have here are well-crafted songs that have better than average lyrics. The songs for the most part drip with melancholy and just enough hope splashed on to not put you in a sad mood. His new album The Red Stone was recorded at home and sounds better than the majority of DIY efforts. It contains 10 songs all lasting between 2 - 4 minutes. Most of the songs seem to be live except for the occasional overdub of lead guitar or organ not unlike something you might expect from Elliott Smith.
The album starts with “Walk alone (The Red Stone and The Last Stop)” which tells a somewhat ambiguous narrative about a man’s search for love, solace and comfort but finding other paths instead that often lead to loneliness. The strumming of the chords is rather jovial and creates a creative dichotomy between the vocal melody, his delivery and the lyrics. ”Love a sight” is a bit more somber but excels again because of the original lyrics. “Images” was one of the better moments on the album as the songwriting felt the strongest as he seemed to conjure up a bit of Sam Beam from Iron and Wine. His vocal melody was soulful and his lead guitar work was creative on “Mistakes” but his best song on the album in my opinion was “Goodbye.” “Goodbye” has a revival type feel that I am always a sucker for as the sparse piano, vocals harmonies and guitar celebrate new beginnings towards the end of the song.
After listening to the album a couple of times the only real fault I would have is the pacing of the album. The album had occasional lulls on some songs that might test the patience of an ADD induced audience but overall this is pretty innocuous as the individual songs are better than average. The Red Stone is a solid album that showcases simple yet effective songwriting and storytelling with not much more than an acoustic guitar and his voice.
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