Local Album Showcases
Longmont Songwriter Nick O'Connor made a killer record!
Nick is one of the great songwriters Jessica and I have met since we moved up to Longmont, Colorado. He’s in his mid 20’s but his skill level is more like that of a seasoned veteran artist. I’m very excited to write about his new album because not only are the songs great, the lyrics and production values are shockingly strong. I’m amazed at the production values on this collection, which was recorded by Mr. John Macy down in Denver at Silo Sound Studios. There are tons of backing instruments piled up in the mixes but they are all clear and sitting comfortably in their little tonal spaces. Instruments include various horns, flute, drums, percussion, electric guitar, upright bass, pedal steel, slide guitar, organ, piano, accordion, mandolin, and harmonica! Holy shit! These songs are packed full but thanks to a master level mixing job it doesn’t sound cluttered. This is heartland music we will be listening to for a long time.
The first song on here is “American Tale” and it is, in my opinion, one of the biggest standout tunes in this collection. It’s a thinky tune about an American Soldier’s experience with going to war and then coming home to find that he is forever changed. It’s a perfect starting point for the emotionally complex and energizing experience that is this collection. High quality songwriting is a commonality between all the tunes but the different feels of each one does add lots of variety proving that Nick O’Connor is more than a one-trick pony.
A little later on comes the collection’s title song “Fly Away”. It’s a nice, slow and intimate song with some killer pedal steel played of course by Mr. John Macy and some very smooth B3 organ by Eric Moon. Again the tones are golden. I can’t imagine any kind of improvement that could be done to this sound. It may not be the most energetic or danceable tune on here but I can see why it’s the title track. It’s a great centerpiece and a really good showcase for the level of intimacy this artist is able to conjure up.
Another standout track is number seven titled, “For You”. It could be a really huge radio hit. It’s a crazy good piece from a lyrical perspective. It’s a little unclear though whether this is a song to a girl or a God. There are a few religious references in the other songs and in the liner notes as well so there is a certain level of ambiguity there but I’ll say this… if this song is written to a girl, it is going to be a huge panty-dropper.
The last song I’ll mention is track number eight “Born Under the Shadow”. The huge scale of musicianship and fascinating lyrical content are almost overwhelming. The song is about faith, force, disillusionment and the hunger for something certain. It’s a moving song that makes you hit repeat a few times before you can move on.
This is a modern local classic. This album is a mandatory purchase for any fan of Colorado music. I can’t stress enough how strong this album is and I can’t encourage you enough to pick it up. Here’s the info to do so.