October 23rd, 2012 | Album reviews

Amy Hagemeier

Richie Lawrence
Big Book Records

Well, shoot howdy shucks. Lawrence’s voice is so gentle and insistent that it kind of makes me feel high just hearing it… it’s mellow and bright like the yellow sun in springtime, never intrusive but impossible to ignore once you notice it. Lawrence has mastered the ability to take roots Americana in its most August lazy and yet make it seem fresh, like a young gal/guy in a gingham dress who has never felt a hand in that part of their britches before. It’s impossible not to compare this to Jason Heath’s recent album, solely because this one is so much better–unlike Heath, Lawrence’s slow and steady approach means he never wears out his welcome, and even the accordion he uses sounds like a genius addition instead of like kitchen sink excessiveness. The album starts off being country/western and suddenly becomes Tin Pan Alley poetry in the vein of early Oingo Boingo/Tom Waits. It’s strange and wonderful. I get sickened by things like this because they remind me of how my fast-paced L.A. lifestyle means a misery of missed shows and underappreciated amazements.

-D. M. Collins