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The ‘Sound’ of life

Some people are better at expressing heartache, desire, love and hope through their music than others. Garrison Starr has become somewhat of an expert at this on her latest album, The Sound of You and Me. She bares her soul for everyone to see.

The album is a journey into her life and gives her fans a deeper glimpse of her true self. It’s about heartaches endured and her continual search for lasting love. However, the flip side to having an album with such a melancholic aura is that listeners might fall asleep before they’ve reached the end.

The stories begin with the first song, “Pendulum,” which features such lyrical passages as, “We were in love / and I thought it was big enough.” It’s one of those break-up songs that almost anyone can relate to but not all want to remember. Her lyrics suggest the feeling that you can never quite live up to what “they” want you to be, and why should you? This song, “Let Me In” and “No Man’s Land” are easily the more Nashville-driven, alt-country songs on the record, while “Beautiful In Los Angeles” and “Black and White” lend themselves to a more pop-rock-friendly genre.

Relocating to the Nashville area for the recording of this album, Starr diverted from the style of her three previous albums, which were much more commercial friendly. The Sound of You and Me is fused with both organic sounds of alt-country and pop rock. One diversion includes the use of new instruments. The song “Sing It Like A Victim” includes piano accompaniment, which is a first for Starr. Also, the song “Big Enough” includes the use of strings to help bring climax toward the end of the song. It would be great to say that the interplay between pop rock and alt-country is balanced and makes the album more enjoyable, but it doesn’t. Instead, you’re left wanting every song to be more alt-country because that’s where her creativity clearly lies.

Akin to other singer-songwriters such as Michelle Malone, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Melissa Ferrick, Starr is looking to connect more intimately with her audience through her lyrics and tries to make that effort successful with this album. There’s plenty of mood music to go around these days, but if you’re interested in diving into the deep blue melancholy that’s life, you might really appreciate this album.

Grade: B-