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

Nick Justice - The Road Not Taken  (click on image to watch video)

 27 November 2019



Nick Vincent comes from California, but his vocals land somewhere between the nasal Gainesville twang of Tom Petty and the rumbling honey and wood smoke of Iowa’s Greg Brown.  His new album “The Road Not Taken” draws from Rock, Rhythm & Blues, Country, and Folk. 

The low-key opener, “Take Me Home” sets the tone for this 10 song set, blending high lonesome lap steel, chugging guitars and a percolating beat.  Sly and mordant lyrics offer this pragmatic view; “All things must pass, we all need to move on, it’s written in every story the conclusion’s forgone, come Holy Spirit, take me home.”  Of course, that enlightened  P.O.V. seems to be coming from a corpse…. 

The title track hews closer to Robert Zimmerman than Robert Frost. Sneering vocals tell the tight-lipped tale of a backwoods outlaw over an expansive arrangement featuring, dobro, slide guitar, banjo, bass, and mandolin. 

Meanwhile, both “Left No Reply” and “Slipping Away” tackle the scourge of drug addiction from different vantage points. On the  former, wistful guitar notes fold into a jittery beat as lyrics recount a friend’s chemical descent; “The pain in his veins, left no reply.” The latter is a bit of a back-porch ramble anchored by a kick-drum beat and accented by bramble-thick guitars, spidery bass and swooping fiddle runs. Nick’s mien is laconic as he lists his vices, before confiding “Ya know, I’m slipping away.”

Other interesting tracks include the loping two-step of “Down Country” and the fatherly encomium of “Song For Caity (A Daughter’s Song).” The album closes the tender benediction of “Calling All Lost Souls.”   Clearly, Nick Justice’s influences inform him, but they don’t define him.



Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here





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