No Depression (For A Song)
like they poured right out of him, and he doesn’t need to complicate them to tell a solid story" --No Depression
This won’t be the first time singer-songwriter Mark Erelli has been compared to Paul Simon, and it won’t be the last. On his new record For a Song, Erelli applies Simon’s same brand of soft texture to his own sound, while also channeling a little of that Bob Dylan lonesome, raspy wanderer vibe. His songs are down to earth, no matter how dreamy they sound, and Erelli channels an old school style of folk music that suits him well. Not unlike The Milk Carton Kids, Erelli is careful and gentle with his craft, embracing the beauty in keeping things frills-free.
The title track “For a Song” has that driving, road-song quality, but it maintains subtlety even when it could easily erupt into a symphony. And if you don’t want to keep the enchanting love song “Hourglass” on repeat, you may need to do some soul searching. The latter is one of the record’s gems, and it’s so short and sweet, you’ll play it again and again just because you can’t believe it’s over. There’s simplicity to Erelli’s songwriting. His lyrics have an ease, like they poured right out of him, and he doesn’t need to complicate them to tell a solid story. He delves into romance, fatherhood, disappointment and the quest to find himself and he does it all with his honeyed voice.
Erelli charms on more up-tempo tunes like the golden “Magic” and the unforgettable earworm “Wayside”. But he darkens the tone a bit on the hushed “Look Up” and the Simon and Garfunkel dupe “Oklahoma” (also one of the album’s standouts). And though it all works together, Erelli shows range here. There are moments when his hooks are catchy, but he keeps them contained with toned down instrumentals, despite their potential to be much bigger and more epic. Nevertheless, though, For a Song is a pretty album just the way it is.
by Maeri Ferguson