David Gelman – Last Surviving Son

All instruments have a unique way of speaking to us, but there are few in the American folk lexicon that are as evocative and thoroughly inspiring as the guitar is, and in David Gelman’s “Feel Alright,” we’re reminded of just how vital a part its six-strings have played in the development of modern swing.

Feel Alright” is a bright, charmingly upbeat ballad and only one of the thirteen songs that comprise Gelman’s all-new record Last Surviving Son, but if its warm tonality and homespun harmonies are pleasing to your ear, you can rest assured that the remainder of the LP’s tracklist will satisfy as well.

There’s a good balance of instrumental prowess and lyrical magic in Last Surviving Son, and one needn’t look any further than “Set It Free,” the potent “Presence of the Lord” and exotic “In the Sun” to appreciate the duality in David Gelman’s songwriting skill set.

He’s got a way of communicating to us as much through his plain-speaking poetry as he does his string-powered harmonies, the best of which (arguably in “Let It All Go,” “Because You Love Me” and the title track) often tend to be the simplest from a compositional point of view.

The production quality here is quite exceptional, but I think it’s important to note that nothing sounds or feels overdone. Simplicity has always served Gelman’s style of play better than complicated virtuosity has, and he was wise to stick with a fairly straightforward, unvarnished concept with the mastering of this album.

Music like this doesn’t need any fancy bells and whistles to make a big impression on everyone listening, and truth be told, I don’t believe songs like “Soft Surrender” and “The Roads We Didn’t Take” would be nearly as touching and transcendent in tone were they weighed down with any big frills.

I was only somewhat familiar with the body of work that David Gelman has issued up until now prior to hearing Last Surviving Son just recently, but I’m definitely interested in checking out more of his material after getting lost in the staggering rock of “Lonely Tonight,” the light push of “Wasting Away,” and the charms that the other eleven songs here offer.

He’s got a very intriguing approach to song craft that I haven’t seen a lot of indie singer/songwriters toying with in 2019, and if his sound gets even more diversified in the years to come, I could absolutely see him becoming a big influence on a new generation of players soon to emerge from the shadows of the underground.

If you enjoyed a preview of David Gelman’s Last Surviving Son, check out his official website by clicking here.

 

Eric Jarvis

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