Jim Halfpenny has been a professional film composer and songwriter for more than twenty years. His composing credits include the original scores for over twenty-five feature length films, music for a Discovery Channel series and jingles for national TV and radio ads. He recently released Tabula Rasa which is a twelve-song album.
The album has its roots in Americana to my ears. Artists like Tom Petty and John Mellencamp came to mind. The songs are on the warmer side of rock with gentle fuzz and sometimes clean guitar, earthy organ and organic sounding bass and drums.
I thought the songwriting was consistently good and there were a number of songs which felt like highlights to me. “Caught Up” was a great one revolving around minor and major chords, a 4/4 beat and memorable vocal melodies. Americana has typically been a very nostalgic genre when examining the lyrics and that’s the case here.
“Thin Brim Hat” was another highlight. The vibe here is a little more bluegrass and country inspired. I think I heard some mandolin on this song. The best part of the song is the hook which I loved the first time I heard it.
“I Know About Love” is a nice mix of emotions. I was receiving a sense of gratitude on this song which was warm and soothes your heart. It’s also pretty hopeful sounding. “Same Full Moon” is one of the more rocking songs and also has some clear Tom Petty influence. The groove is dynamic and I thought the guitar work was sharp and creative.
The closer “Righteous” is more of a slow burn. It felt like a good way to end the album with a thoughtful sentiment. There are some well written words and more melodies which hit at your heart.
This was a finely produced and written album. Fans of Americana in general should queue this one up.
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