(Disclaimer: Here at Nine Bullets we pride ourselves on bringing you the best music first(ish) and we think that we often do but every so often we get scooped. I procrastinated on this review and finally wrote it two weeks ago. I thought I was going to introduce y’all to a new artist then the Grammy’s announced their nominees. John Fullbright is nominated for best Americana Album along with The Avett Brothers, Bonnie Rait, & The Lumineers. I’m a little bitter I got scooped by the Grammy’s.)
I hope you’ve seen the documentary Heartworn Highway. If you haven’t then please stop whatever you’re doing and make plans to see it soon. The highlights of the movie center around Townes Van Zant and Guy Clark, especially the song swapping in the Clark’s living room. Van Zant and Clark aren’t the first songwriters who lived rough and put their failing to song but they were two of the best. And, as you can see from a very young Steve Earle in the living room that night, Clark and Van Zant influenced and/or nurtured almost every notable folk singer since.
A few recognizable names that we could safely say have carried on down that road include Steve Earle, and more recently Todd Snider, Hayes Carll, and James McMurtry. But there’s also an even younger generation of songwriters in this hollowed tradition. Regular readers here will certainly recognize the names Andrew Combs and Justin Townes Earle and I’d like to add another name; John Fullbright. John Fullbright is the real deal and if any of the names I’ve mentioned are in your record collection then please play the songs below and check out the rest of Fullbright’s music.
From The Ground Up is 12 very solid songs that finds Fullbright stretching beyond the acoustic guitar of his earlier live album and mixing in some electric guitar and piano. His sound isn’t revolutionary nor are any of these songs the best he will ever write but this album is so good it hurts to think about what the future might bring. What strikes me as the most impressive element here is the patience Fullbright demonstrates within each song. The playing is never rushed or showy and he’s capable enough as a vocalist to hit the very back end of each beat. John Fullbright’s From The Ground Up is the calling card of a significant newcomer in the Americana world.
I can not suggest enough giving this Essential Listening a spin.