Jim Lord’s latest album “Little Star”
Good folk/rock is hard to come by nowadays, but if you look to the left side of the dial, you might be surprised at the quality of content coming from indie players like Jim Lord. Lord’s latest album, Little Star, was released in 2020 to a warm reception from the American underground, and if you listen to its two star singles – its title track and the wondrously emotional “Helplessly I Fell” – you’re going to get a pretty good idea as to why. Lord invites no ego, nor any sonic frills into the mix for either of this two tracks; on the contrary, he seemingly goes out of his way to make both of the songs as efficient and melodically fine-tuned as he can. There isn’t a lot of breathing room in the arrangement of “Little Star,” and in all honesty, it doesn’t have any of the bells and whistles that its many mainstream contemporaries might, and that’s precisely why I find it so attractive. Just like “Helplessly I Fell,” songs like this one are the bread and butter of the traditionalist movement, and for Americana purists like myself, both are required listening this month.
Though “Little Star” is more stripped-down in design than “Helplessly I Fell” is, it doesn’t need any sort of synthetic backing to be one of the more affective tracks on the album it shares a name with. I absolutely love the multilayered mix on the latter of the two songs, and from a production perspective, it’s probably among the most complex compositions of its kind to make it onto Jim Lord’s latest LP. Even at his most complicated and technical, Lord doesn’t sound like an artist who constantly overthinks the craftsmanship of his work; I actually get a really relaxed vibe from him in both of these singles. They’re equally raw and emotional in all the right ways, and though the instrumentation is designed to lend authenticity to the lyrics, the exposed, unfiltered passion in the vocal never stands in the way of the strings telling a story all their own. This is folk/rock for grownups, and it’s hitting the market at a great moment in the history of the genre.
I wasn’t aware of Lord’s complete discography before getting a peek at “Little Star” and “Helplessly I Fell” this June, but now that I’m aware of what he can get done in the studio, I’m definitely going to be exploring the works of Jim Lord a little more than I would have otherwise. To me, Lord sounds like a true stage player who would be incredibly powerful to witness in a live capacity, and if he’s able to recreate that same kind of magic in his sessions recordings (like these two singles) in the future, I don’t see why his brand wouldn’t make the crossover to the mainstream a lot sooner than later. He has my attention, and after you listen to his most recent work, I’ve got a strong feeling he’s going to have yours as well.
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