Sunday, 2 June 2013

Jay Nash - Letters From The Lost

Album review by

A prolific songwriter, on this, his tenth album, Jay Nash gently eases you into 'Letters from the Lost' with the warm and serene 'Wander'. It's has a feel similar to Chris Issac's Wicked Game'; it's an atmospheric, elegant song, that has a flowing, tempered guitar running through and Nash calling out in "the dark". Brighter and lighter 'Twist My Arm' brings a joyous lilt to the album. A rich country pop song that evokes summer days down by the water. Its simplicity and unfussy nature allowing you to forget your cares for a minute. The girl calling you "to come back"; 'Twist My Arm' stays with you long after it's finished.

After the summery nature of 'Twist My Arm', 'White Whale' is a powerful contrast. It has an edge of menace, pushed along on 'Joshua Tree'-style flourishes. Nash's singing is deeper, recalling Neil Diamond at his darkest. A storm cloud hued song, where the 'White Whale' is told that "this is not the sea." Staying in the shadows, 'Art Thief'  has hymnal undertones with a organ weaving through this quite beautiful song. Here Nash's voice stands to the fore, a strong and vibrant tool, close to your ear, fitting the song's understated grace. The gentler tone is sustained with 'Sometimes', a loose duet with a shimmering female cameo. It lends a true country take to the song. 'Sometimes' has a world-weary feel, where "you wanna go home"; it encapsulates the feel of loss and tiredness, but is never maudlin.  

In one quick strum you are lifted up by 'Sailor'. A foot-stomping punch of a song, close to the latter day romps that Springsteen found with his 'Seeger Seesions'. 'Sailor' manages to have a contemporary vibe crossed with folk classicism. Nash tells a tale fitting with the title where you are told "to hold onto to me darlin'." If Mumford and Sons had this it would be a huge song. Before 'Sailor''s finished you are already singing along. Stepping away from 'Sailor''s vibrancy, 'I Wont Let Go' slides in on a soft, slow, dusty shuffle. Then Nash pushes his quite stunning voice out, imploring his love that "he won't let go". The song takes an unexpected turn with a deep sax, it almost wrong foots 'I Won't Let Go' but the sheer class of the solo rewards and enhances the song.

'Letters to the Lost' has so far been an all encompassing trip and 'Stars' only adds to the ride. Nash opens with almost Coldplay touches of piano and guitar, where you can't resist the sheer gorgeousness of the melody. Nash then show a deft touch, and reigns in what could of been overbearing bombast and provides a mature and successful song, taking you to heights at the perfect points. "Letting you find your way back down from here" and gently warning of staying high. This rich, mature album that at times has unexpected turns but never wrong foots you, always allowing you to enjoy, closes with the campfire strum of 'Blame It All On The Wind'. Lyrically a cautionary tale where "we are always on the brink of war". It doesn't ever wallow. It's lifted along on joyous guitar and 'Letters to the Lost' is finished to the sounds of a warmly played acoustic.

Jay Nash's website

Buy the album

Catch him live:

Jun 02 Carr's Corner w/ David Ramirez, Spokane, WA
Jun 04 Urban Lounge w/ David Ramirez, Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 05 Soiled Dove Underground w/ David Ramirez, Denver, CO
Jun 06 The Slowdown w/ David Ramirez, Omaha, NE
Jun 07 SPACE w/ David Ramirez, Evanston, IL
Jun 08 Off Broadway w/ David Ramirez, St Louis, MO
Jun 11 Czar Bar w/ David Ramirez, Kansas City, MO
Jun 12 The Vanguard, Tulsa, OK
Jun 13 The Blue Door w/ David Ramirez, Oklahoma City, OK
Jun 14 The Live Oak w/ David Ramirez, Fort Worth, TX
Jul 06 Clayton Opera House w/ Joe Purdy, The Milk, Clayton, NY
Jul 12 Bunbury Music Festival w/ Tegan and Sara, Cincinnati, OH

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