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Salloom Review - David M

Review of Hearty by Roger Salloom


David Masciotra


There is nothing that is unenjoyable on the new record, Hearty, by Americana singer/songwriter, Roger Salloom. The lyrics resonate with emotional punch, and the musical accompaniment is solid and skillful. The problem is that Hearty lacks a singular, or even identifiable focus, making the collection of songs resemble a random Spotify shuffle more than a cohesive record.


Salloom is at his best with the political material, most especially an original anthem for America’s current era of chaos and criminality – “Don’t Let My Country Wash Away.” The righteous protest song leads into a lighthearted romp with an essential message, “Get Up & Vote.” A heartfelt and effectual cover of Woody Guthrie’s “Deportee” closes Hearty, demonstrating how Salloom can wisely sequence powerful songs to communicate an artful and poignant message to listeners.


Leading up to those three songs, however, is a musical experience that is often adrift. Hearty opens with a “field recording” of a Dylanesque folk song only to oddly lead into two fun, but standard covers of “Jelly Roll Baker” and “Shake, Rattle and Roll.”


Salloom does most of the musical heavy lifting, and he does it well. His accompanying horn section brings an energetic uplift to many of the songs, but before those final three numbers, Hearty seems to lack an artistic home, and as a result, does not register as fully as it could and should have.

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