Norman Salant has been involved with music for a long time. Instead of wasting some precious space here however I encourage you to check out the interview we did with him last year to learn about his story. Salant doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon and as of last December he released another LP entitled Always All Around You.
After spending some time with this LP I found that I was able to appreciate a lot of the same qualities I gravitated to on his previous release Yodeling Goodbye. One of those qualities is how he handles nostalgia. It’s a pretty tricky emotion to deliver but nonetheless popular in music. I feel it is often handled in a wrong way that makes music feel saccharine and melodramatic in the wrong hands. For example take two songs that try to instill a sense of nostalgia, “Homeward Bound” by Simon & Garfunkel and “Endless Summer Nights” by Richard Marx. Now nothing against Marx or that one die hard fan who disagrees but I think most would agree the former does a far superior job of conjuring nostalgia without the cringe worthy side effects of a bad romantic comedy. Suffice it to say Salant has more in common with Simon & Garfunkel.
The sense of nostalgia hits heavy with with the opening song “At The End Of The World.” It’s a warm mix of instrumentation with hints of Pink Floyd when he sings, “It's a long time coming at the end of the world / And it's a gray day at the end of the world.”
Salant sounds heartfelt, warm and comforting on “Grace (Love Song 25)” while the infectious “The Whole Wide World” sounds just as relevant now as it might have when the hippies were protesting the Vietnam War and Nixon. “Glory” is a powerful song full of lyrics with ambiguous religious imagery but could be interpreted to be about the story of Jesus. The lyrics on the closer “Carried Away” take it up a notch to explore an ethereal, mythological mysticism that is accompanied with music that is nostalgic in a way as if you were viewing it from a dream in a past life.
The nostalgia along with the myriad other emotions Salant explores worked for me because it felt authentic. Salant doesn't build this record on abstraction, being disconnected and separation but rather those moments in life where it seems to converge and truly feels as if we are completely alive.
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