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Music Review - 'Rope the Wind` by Nick Justice(jh)

Nick Justice -  Rope the Wind (click on image to watch video)

28 February 2021 

 

This is singer-songwriter Nick Justice’s fifth album, and the third that this writer has covered on these pages. Yes, Justice has his usual themes of love gone wrong, misfits and the downtrodden. And, like his previous two outings, Justice seems to have settled into a relatively sparse backing helmed by producer and multi-instrumentalist, Richard Bredice. In addition to producing, engineering and mixing Bredice plays guitars, organ, bass and percussion. Richard Stekol provided a variety of strings while. Justice mostly sings and plays harmonica. So, the obvious question is there anything different about Rope the Wind?

Justice’s gift is his ability to relate to most of us in his tales and straight forward lyrics in a deep, resonant voice.  He’s got a knack for catchy hooks and melodic choruses that remain memorable. As you may glean from the title this one has a distinctly Western and Tex-Mex strains running through it, differentiating it from its predecessors.  Justice is the quintessential troubadour, putting that thought to music in his opening “Traveling Man.” His relatively simple and melodic song structure in rhyming lines is showcased in his love song, “Tears Disappear in the Rain.” He also has the natural ability to relate to common subjects, conjuring up the escapism and relaxation one feels perfectly in “Down at the Fishing Hole.”

The pace picks up considerably and the Western aura begins to creep in with “Run Away,” setting up “Billy the Kid,” which he half narrates and half sings in a compelling way, just as a wizened cowboy might deliver the tale to one of his children. The nomadic theme returns for the breezy “No Reason to Stay,” punctuated by jabbing electric guitar lines. “Love Is On the Run” and especially “After We Say Goodbye,” with its flamenco guitar lines, speak to the Tex-Mex strains alluded to previously.

“Rhymes and Reason” brings in the banjo and is chock full of clever wordplay, referencing nursery rhymes and such. Justice saves the title track for the closer, marrying romance and wanderlust, both so characteristic in so many of his songs. There’s some nice variety on this one; Justice keeps fine tuning his already well-crafted approach.

 

 

Jim Hynes

 

 

Jim Hynes is an independent contributor on music for several magazines, including Elmore and Country Standard Time. He has also written for Variety. He was a listener-supported public station(s) radio host for 25 years in CT, MI, NJ and PA. He is also a Live music host/Emcee at several national and regional venues.

To Read All of Jim's Reviews, Click Here

 

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