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Rocky Votolato - Makers

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 28 / 3 / 2006

Rocky Votolato - Makers
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Intelligent, soulful fourth album from the Texan-born Rocky Votolato, who stands out far above the ever growing bunch of current bleeding-heart singer songwriters

There are so many male singer-songwriters around just now, every time I turn on the radio there’s another one trying to make his mark. It’s got to the point where, to be honest, I’ve had my fill of so-called sincere young men pouring out their hearts over the airwaves. James Blunt has a lot to answer for. While the Blunts of this world have opened some ears and eyes to the male singer-songwriter genre they have also cheapened it in a lot of ways. So if we are going through a period when we have to have earnest 20- somethings battering our ears every waking hour with their heartfelt musings then please, please, please let it be the songs of the more talented musicians like Rocky Votolato filling up the airwaves. For words such as earnest, sincere and heartfelt can readily be used to describe the dozen songs on Texan born Votolato’s fourth full-length album but there’s a certain passion in these songs, a soulfulness if you will, that is sorely missing from that ever growing bunch of bleeding-heart singer songwriters. Votolato has a fantastic singing voice (at times soft and gentle, other times Neal Casal on 50 cigarettes a day comes to mind) and he writes melodic songs that are littered with thought provoking lyrics. It’s been a good while since we’ve had a singer-songwriter capable of writing such strong lyrics. Votolato really shines on these stripped-down songs where just his voice, acoustic guitar and harmonica take us into his songs, into his world. On ‘Goldfield’ Votolato drives us through the old dead end town of the title, and we know that girl driving and dreaming of ‘escaping out to ‘Frisco’ due to his emotive vocals. The whole thing is wrapped up is such a pretty melody, one is left wondering what Votolato must do to get his songs on the radio for he has it all in songs like this, melodies which stay in the mind, intelligent lyrics with a slight touch of humour at times and that voice. The song that follows from the aforementioned ‘Goldfield’ is ‘Tinfoil Hats’ and lines like “he reminded me that the only way to keep aliens from reading your mind, is to wear a tinfoil hat friend, and wear it all the time” injects some humour into Votolato’s songs, something the more earnest young singer-songwriters should take note of. Again the song is blessed with a simple but once-heard-never-forgotten melody this time embellished with some strange percussion. Those two songs are towards the end of the album, the point where the best songs have usually been used ; hit them with the best songs at the beginning of the album seems to be the way of things at the moment but it’s not so with ‘Makers’. From the opening song, ‘White Daisy Passing’, a dreamy, harmony laden gem of a song with lyrics which even at this early stage highlight Votolato’s talent, “there’s a secret magic past world that you only notice when you’re looking back at it, all I wanna do is turn around” to the closing title song complete with gorgeous pedal steel guitar Votolato doesn’t put a foot wrong. I want to hear this album, all of it ; not just a song here and there, floating over the airwaves this summer, I want these intelligent hook laden songs to be given the space lesser songs are given. In a perfect world we’d have that but for now we have to make our dreams come true ourselves, so as the only way you’re going to hear this outstanding album is by buying the little silver disc I’d thoroughly recommend you start walking to your favourite record store right now.

Track Listing:-
1 White Daisy Passing
2 Portland Is Leaving
3 The Night's Disguise
4 She Was Only in It for the Rain
5 Uppers Aren't Necessary
6 Wait Out the Days
7 Streetlights
8 Tennessee Train Tracks
9 Goldfield
10 Tinfoil Hats
11 Where We Left Off
12 Makers

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