It makes perfect sense for Grayson Capps' Scarlett Roses to conclude with a cut called "Moving On" (and for a lyric sheet to be included). The music on this album sounds like it comes from a place just beyond the world as most of us know it. Like the appropriately designated title song, the material itself and the pointed musicianship arising out of it manifests a clarity arising from deep reflection and thoughts of a better future.
That lucidity of mind may come from Capps' willingness to let these new songs come to him in their own time, not to mention the tranquil atmosphere in which they were recorded under the expert aegis of Trina Shoemaker. "Hold Me Darlin'" is as jaunty as the preceding track is foreboding-"If I don't go crazy, then I think I'll go insane"-ample evidence of the insularity conducive to clear thinking and decision-making, not to mention the collaborative production shared by Capps, spouse Shoemaker and multi-instrumentalist Corky Hughes.
"Bag of Weed" is the kind of vivid role-playing in song derived from real life experience, which is why it rocks at the end after rolling along with deceptive force for most of the its duration. Grayson Capps writes without literal reference to style and so draws on blues, country and folk music for an amalgam that, like "You Can't Turn Around," finds its essence in the sly drawl of the author's voice as he sings.
Similarly, on "Thankful," the man's vocal delivery masks a hard-earned lust for life and a sense of abiding gratitude he refuses to take for granted. During "New Again," for instance, he espouses an overt openness to change, which is no doubt why he shuffles musical influences with such facility on this record: Grayson Capps refuses to overthink his compositions or their arrangements. There's a delicacy permeating the harmonies on the refrain of that aforementioned track which belies an inner strength, an impression fortified with the precision of the acoustic guitar picking. And "Hit 'Em Up Julie" is like a mirror image of those sounds: jagged electric slide buffets harmonica, all of which rides aloft a combination of boogie and shuffle rhythms.
Capps and his accompanists never overstay their welcome on such tracks, so the single time the ensemble stretches out, on the near eight and a half-minute "Taos," the resulting mood is at once engrossing and disturbing. Which might well stand as a capsule description of Scarlett Roses, an album on which Grayson Capps offers credible solace, but prefers his listeners refrain from becoming too comfortable for their own good.
Scarlett Roses; Hold Me Darlin'; Bag Of Weed; You Can’t Turn Around; Thankful; New Again; Hit Em Up Julie; Taos; Moving On
Grayson Capps: acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, harmony vocals; Corky Hughes: electric and acoustic guitars, lap steel, bass, piano; Rufus Ducote: bass guitar; Hammond bass pedals; Russ Broussard: drums, washboard; Trina Shoemaker: harmony vocals, percussion; Dylan LeBlanc: harmony vocals (track six only).
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