Robert Vincent- In This Town You’re Owned review

Robert Vincent In This Town You’re Owned Thirty Tigers

Relatively unheralded, Liverpudlian Robert Vincent appears poised to make his move within the overly-crowded country-folk, Americana field. With songs including “Burns Like Cotton in the Fields,” “Second Chance,” “So In Love,” and “Blue,” and now “This Town” and “My Neighbour’s Ghost,” Robert Vincent demonstrates ability to straddle the line between folk troubadour and power-pop chameleon, running alongside the likes of Marshall Crenshaw, Steve Forbert, and Peter Case, heroes to too few of us.

A keen witness to the complexities of the human condition—as all astute songwriters must be—Vincent’s observations, honest and pointed, plainly-versed and heart-fully sung, resonate. Raised on the country sounds of Waylon, Emmylou, and Pink Floyd, Vincent’s interpretation of the poetic, oral tradition resonates across limitations of genre. “Kids Don’t Dig God Anymore,” one of the standouts on this impressive third album, isn’t necessarily about religion as much as it concerns the spiritual, perhaps an element lacking in many contemporary hearts and minds.

“Husk of a Soul” and “The Ending” explore similar territory, and his lively, personable manner promotes connection to listeners, no matter individual outlook. “My Neighbour’s Ghost” is a cracking, rockabilly-infused pop song, the type Nick Lowe once cranked out, seemingly effortless in execution. Singing “Conundrum,” Vincent brings to mind soulfully-voiced Lowe cohort Paul Carrack: lovely stuff.

“The End of the War” is of a different sort, an artfully crafted epic no less impacting. Across nine-plus minutes, Vincent pulls his listener closer and increasingly closer, sharing words and visions that become progressively more tangible, touching, and significant: “There’s a life at the end of the war, if you’d like to still marry then.” The promise of hope within a blanket of realism.

Vincent seemingly approaches his songwriting and singing with intimacy in mind, evidenced by both his chosen topics—relationships between ourselves, others, and our world—and his manner. In This Town You’re Owned was largely recorded live to tape with minimal overdubs within a tight timeframe. Nothing bombastic or overwrought was inserted into the process, the product being comfortable and familiar from first encounter. When utilized, guitar indulgences (as on “Husk of a Soul”) complement rather than detract, creating melodies that linger.

A pleasure to experience.

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