“Drink the River” – Gabe Lee (2023) [english]

I love storytellers, it’s a fact.

I have always fallen in love with artists who do not write banal songs and in the lyrics can tell intense, complex stories that move the soul.

I envy those who manage in a few lines to condense small films, the ability to write texts in which everyone can recognize at least at a stage of their life.

For this reason I loved to madness the first Springsteen, the true stories of Darkness on the Edge of Town or The River (that I accidentally hook with the title of this record!).

Very few songwriters do that today. Not that the texts of the artists I talk about weekly do not do it, but not everyone is so good at painting characters and landscapes as if they were books.

I approached Gabe Lee because I heard about him in these terms: one who told stories and did it mixing country, folk and blues influences.

Gabe is at his fourth recording effort, but there comes with maturity and courage, as befits an artist who now knows what can and is aware of it.

A native of Nashville, he took full advantage of this fortune by taking inspiration and absorbing influences and stories from what has always been considered Music City.

His is a journey, in the sense that he is an artist who has not made his way with social media, has not made a dent in Youtube or Tok Tok, but has made his way with word of mouth and concerts up and down the United States. The old-fashioned way, we can say it, the way I like it.

In this journey that has been his career has gathered stories and inspiration to get to this Drink the River: a collection of 8 autograph pieces plus a gorgeous cover.

Gabe Lee has “dried” her sound, the one you can appreciate in her previous records and gives us acoustic stories, where the power is the words and her intense and incisive voice.

No sophisticated arrangements or sound evolutions, space is everything for the characters and their travels.

And the record begins with the search for something to break away from the “gravity” that this reality imposes on us and that weighs on us, The Wild is an acoustic ballad that immediately shows us a great songwriter and a voice that can not be ignored.

A cheerful melody with mandolin and strings, a sunny opening while the text of Even Jesus Got The Blues is powerful and tells us about the opioid epidemic and the tragic journey in the addictions of a woman on the “dark side of the road”, although the title ironically gives hope to the lives that fall down.

The title track is beautiful. Here, no other words would be needed to describe it: a story in which the protagonist puts love before all the misfortunes of life, with still a capital test of Lee’s voice, which he finds in an essential arrangement oscillating between folk and country, its perfect location.

There is a cover on this record and it’s a brave choice and, if you like, unusual for a songwriter.

One of the most intense and underrated songs of the entire discography of one of the greatest rock bands of all time and, certainly, one of the most unfortunate: Lynyrd Skynyrd.

All I Can Do Is Write About it is not only a wonderful song, but also a manifesto for all songwriters who live the reality. The performance of the piece is perfect and is given a dutiful and fantastic tribute to a song that is wonderful, in its simplicity.

Touring far and wide you hear stories and one of these stories is at the base of Merigold, a small town in Mississippi.

Gabe tells us the story of a man, and the author says he heard it from him, who has to face his life and his future after losing to a cancer, the love of his whole life. Incisive, powerful, and damn beautiful, pure class folk blues.

The ideas for his stories are the most varied and in the melancholy Lidocaine reports, even here directly, the story of a taxi driver who receives a diagnosis of dementia and seeks a way to anesthetize reality.

Lee’s voice was born to tell, as was his pen.

Eveline is the new version of her most beloved song from her debut album Farmland of 2019 and, as in her first, is a wonderful love song.

The work ends with a fantastic and sunny country ballad, Property Line on the story of a man who tries to stubbornly defend his 100 acre property and with it its values. Beautiful work of the banjo.

A record of other times, for an author so anachronistic to be more current than many of his most celebrated colleagues.

Narrator as there are few and that contains within itself all the skills of the great American tradition of folk and country songwriters.

It’s a record with a strong melancholy background, but with always an opening of hope, a ray of sunshine ready to make way or an ironic smile ready to change the mood of history.

Drink The River should be tasted and enjoyed without the rush of modern music, sit on the banks of the river of Gabe Lee and listen to his stories will be worth it.

Good listening,

Trex Willer by http://www.ticinonotizie.it

(in Ticino Notizie web site you can find original italian version of this article)

Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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