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Music Review - `The Road Not Taken` by Nick Justice (dm)

Nick Justice - A Shiver in the Sky  (click on image to watch video)

04 February 2020

 

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Listening to “The Road Not Taken” by Nick Justice feels similar to sitting down for a shot glass of whiskey on a cold night with an old friend. Justice’s voice as a songwriter is hospitable, intimate, and honest. One cannot say with any certainty how much of Justice’s lyrical content is autobiographical, but the richness of his stories and confessions, and the warmth of his delivery, make all of the songs function as broadcasts of authenticity. That is one of the most important feats that a songwriter can aim to accomplish.

Given Justice’s strengths as a songwriter, he is wise to use sparse musical accompaniment and arrangement to underscore his words, rather than compete with them. Traditional instrumentation – mandolin, banjo, an assortment of guitars – along with minimal ornamentation from organ and piano allow Justice’s talkative vocals to settle into a peaceful and declarative rhythm. 

The stories he tells with that rhythm deftly and powerfully combine dramatic metaphor, with sources ranging from Biblical scripture to Justice’s own vivid imagination – with the language of every day. The songs of “The Road Not Taken” are at their most effective when Justice is singing about the ordinary experiences of struggling to pay the bills (“Judgment Day”), finding solace in a rural vacation (“Down Country”), or declaring his love for his daughter in the beautiful ballad, “Song for Caity.”

“The Road Not Taken” is quiet and subtle, and will make for a fine companion on a slow afternoon or rainy evening.

 
 
 

 David Masciotra

 

 

David Masciotra (www.davidmasciotra.com) is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 

  

 

 


 

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