Rocky Votolato: Makers 

Intimate and relatively stripped down, Rocky Votolato's Makers is, foremost, a singer/songwriter album and requires attention and a little commitment on your part. With a handful of previous solo albums and his most recent release, the post-Makers album Brag & Cuss, Votolato shows his dedication to writing on these 12 tracks. Makers is a fine vehicle for Votolato's genial voice and believable story/songs.

The album begins with "White Daisy Passing," a track both relaxed and urgent and which was featured on The O.C. The urgency is simply because, like most of Makers, little to no time is wasted on instrumental sections. You're quickly given lyric after lyric, while the melody constantly changes.

Since this album is more about lyrics than music, take a line from "Goldfield" to get a sense of Votolato's knack for imagery: "Car 5032 of the Union Pacific / is passing by on the right to bring back all the hopelessness / of a trailer park in the old mining town / where the irony's laying thick on the ground in the dirty streets of Goldfield." I think I've been to that town. Pretty bleak, even by these standards. I guess Votolato had no choice but to place a song with a semblance of humor next. Backed by my favorite instrumental arrangement of the album, Votolato hurriedly pleads the lyrics to "Tinfoil Hats": "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 ... life keeps on changing / tell it to stay still but it won't listen / I just want you near me like you are now for good."

All in all, it's a lonely sound that Makers so aptly delivers, though I'll admit, it's a grower. Listen No. 15 was definitely better than listen No. 1. Maybe because I know all the lyrics now.

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