The globetrotting Americana artist Sonofmel has released Springtime in a Foreign City. The music takes a very traditional route to its sound. He has quite a story to tell having traveled across the United States and around the world more than a few times. He has met and performed with countless talents. From the sound of it, this album has been brewing within him for some time. I can tell he has been restless to tell his stories.
I found it interesting that someone who seems to have been everywhere and tasted and seen so many different things would go for an Americana sounding album. I figured I would get some foreign flavors mixed into the genre given the name of the album. You get a hint of French in the sixth track “Grand Marais” which was appreciated. The strongest track for me musically was number three “Tarlabashi Shuffle” where there was a lively and curious rhythm and unique instrument choices. Some of the other tracks sounded a bit dated and derivative of music I have heard before.
The lyrics are undoubtedly poetry. There are some very elaborate stories and strong metaphors in his words. You get a mix of life lessons, drinking tales and the occasional verbalization of whimsical daydreams. The words on this album are a very strong anchor. Storytelling is everything in this genre and he nails that.
It is VERY rare that I ever mention another artist in any of my reviews. My reason being that I don’t want the reader to get anyone else’s sound in their head before listening to the artist I am reviewing. However, in this case I have to say it, Sonofmel appears to make a conscious effort to sound like Johnny Cash which was somewhat distracting. It is possible I am mistaken and this is how his voice naturally works. If that is the case I would suggest augmenting his style to create any sort of distance between him and the man in black.
Sonfomel tells wonderful winding stories and that’s a good foundation to build on. I am jealous of how much of the world this artist has gotten to see. I wish more of it could have been conveyed in the music.
I have no doubt that the artist enjoyed the hell out of making it. I cannot deny there is passion woven into this work and that’s something always worthy of note and respect.
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