Bobby Jo Valentine - Home
Listening to Bobby Jo Valentine's new album Home, I got a warm and fuzzy feeling. Ah L'amour. Familiar. Cozy yet uncomfortable at times. Connecting with a person who sees all your "messy" flaws and loves you anyway. Even when the "winding road" is full of potholes and bumps with sensitive soulmate #1, you'll hear the ever-present optimism that there'll always be a second chance. You know, the stuff every girl who loves singer/songwriters loves to hear. Breaking up the predictable monotony of other "love's gone wrong and now I'll whine and be depressed for 10 songs" singer/songwriter albums, it was refreshing to hear something upbeat and hopeful as "warm is the light" for a change.
In the vein of the pop/country blend of Rufus Wainwright, Dave Matthews and John Mayer, ukulele, slide guitar and banjo on a few tracks add a light, airy quality to the overall feel of the album. If you were in a bad mood before turning this on, it's hard not to cheer up after a few listens. Tracks like "A Hand to Hold" and "Til The Clock Strikes", exude the quirky sensibility and danceability of Jason Mraz's debut, "Waiting for my Rocket to Come". Although it might be easy to walk away and say "game over", you get the impression too much is invested with lyrics like "I'll breathe in every breath that our broken love has left" on "Between Those Lines". Utilizing the effective and popular intimate singer/songwriter house concert concept to build his fanbase, there are songs like "Vernal Falls" and "Chase Away My Dark" that would lend themselves to acoustic versions pretty well. Home sunnily reminds the romantic cynics in us all "it's gonna be alright somehow".
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on 2012-10-23 Archelon Said:
Bobby Jo Valentine is making the quietest of waves is California. Aside from playing ordinary gigs on stages and the like he has taken to what he calls 'house concerts', and as such is building himself a contained but enthusiastic following. 'Home' might well be an extension of this - thematically, the album is focused on love, and the comfort of having a lover. The very essence of modern campfire music.
If tracks like 'Home' and 'By My Side' are anything to go by, parking oneself in front of a group of relative skeptics and playing the ukulele is a good way to write pop music. They ebb and flow - simple but soothing. Valentine's boppy musical demeanour sticks out from the music with a stubborn cheerfulness. He stretches himself vocally and the strain is sometimes satisfying, sometimes just obvious.
Valentine's songs certainly don't lack heart but he swings this heart wildly around, sometimes too wildly. 'Between The Lines' is beautiful and shows he's not short of a lyrical turn or two, but songs like 'Gunshot' and 'Come Back To Bed' sound more over-produced than organic and make both the woman and sound engineer in me cringe a little.
There are a few stray fireworks in Home that lend the album some colour and heat and coupled with an instant-fix point fo entry for new fans, this album shouldn't serve Valentine too badly in moving from house concerts to house name.