Rocky Votolato

Barsuk, 2006

REVIEW BY: Shane M. Liebler


Makers is a tribute to everything before Rocky Votolato: His influences, his memories, his insecurities.

The only thing a singer-songwriter has is his or her compelling ability to strum and verbalize everything we hate about ourselves. Otherwise, you’re just another folkie at the coffeehouse.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Votolato has an uncommon ability to stick out, though. The scents of fellow Nor’wester Elliot Smith, Simon & Garfunkel and various members of the early alt-country scene help give his own weary groan a familiar aroma.

Strong, clever and catchy lyrics set up the 12 three-minute soundtracks that alternate between scenes of summer love and autumn benders.

“Going to stay up all night for the rest of my life / ’Til the lines around my eyes grow deeper and more defined / You might ask me aren’t you dead inside and so damn tired / I’ll say I have no idea, I’m not sleeping until after the dying is over,” Votolato sings on “Portland Is Leaving,” one of a handful standout tracks.

Album opener “White Daisy Passing” is an acoustic gem that begs “Please slow it down / There’s a secret magic past world / That you only notice when you’re looking back at it / All I wanna do is turn around.”

The Texas native slides some tasty pedal steel guitar over the Uncle Tupelo-flavored “The Night’s Disguise” and “Tennessee Train Tracks.” The ballad-y “She Was Only In It For The Rain” and “Where We Left Off” add a traditional folk flavor but weaken the overall blend.

Perhaps most impressive is Makers’ brevity, given the 18 months Votolato put into his fourth full-length. Warmly produced, humbly presented, short and often bittersweet, Makers is destined to gain some degree of mass popularity after it’s adapted for end movie credits or as television medical drama background noise.

Don’t wait that long to discover it, though.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2007 Shane M. Liebler and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Barsuk, and is used for informational purposes only.