Review: Bobbie Marrone – Lonely St.

Bobbie Marrone returns with new record Lonely St, treating the listener to a plethora of simple but addictive ideas that benefit from strong musicianship.

If you’re going to be a singer/songwriter, you’ve got to be prepared to wear your heart on your sleeve. If you can’t open yourself up to the fullest, your listeners are likely to see right through this and the music will suffer because of it. Luckily for us, Bobbie Marrone is not one to shy away from his emotions, and new record Lonely St is his most personal yet, with all the honesty and emotion you’ve come to expect from the artist, that allows the music to find another level.

Behind The Walls opens the record with the contemporary folk stalwarts of gentle guitar plucking against Hammond organ. Reminding of early John Mayer, Marrone’s silky smooth vocals roll over the track as he sings contemplative musings: “once upon a time i saw my past and said I’m never looking back” There’s also similarities here to Conor Oberst’s Mystic Valley Band in the way the production is handled, allowing the harmonies to be clear and concise, as the jaunty rhythms flow amongst the heavier lyrical material.

Lonely St

Get By has a more 70s soul vibe to it, but the gentle atmosphere gives it that something different. The personal and heartfelt messages in Marrone’s music add another layer, as he revels in soul searching and doing what’s right in the only way singer/songwriters can: “I’ve got to find what I’ve been searching for or i’ll go out of my mind.”

Whiskey and Water is expectedly country-tinged with down-trodden lyrics against gentle guitar with an out-pour of emotion, whereas Holding On transports us back to early 70s blues in a wonderful track that’s gradually released from its shell. It saunters along amongst a swaying atmosphere that lifts up a heavy heart, carrying you forward relentlessly. This is amplified by clever production, nice backing vocals, and drums that push the track forward when needed.

Walk Away has one of the strongest melodies on the record, backed up by fine guitar playing and full of great ideas. Simple Things, with its dirty guitar sound, offers something slightly different to keep things fresh in a big chorus as Marrone’s vocal dance over the cleverly traverse rhythms.

The record ends with album-titled track Lonely St, this being an interesting acoustic track full of heartbreak, clever chord changes and nuances. The ideas here are refined into an enjoyable piece that’s seemingly not only written so the artist can get a lot of his chest, but also to show of his technical ability as a songwriter. It’s not overly complicated, but shows off in a way that only a skilled songwriter could truly appreciate.

Marrone relies on simplicity and cleverly layered tracks with silky production to create a record that is uncomplicated, in a good way. He leaves it to his insightful lyrics to push their way through, arising triumphantly amongst the intelligent chord progressions, polished instrumentation and personalised guitar work. The emotion is apparent throughout Lonely St. and this is what really holds the record together. This allows Marrone to go off on tangents when necessary and revel in the world he’s created. Lonely St. is a great record that works well because it’s full of honest music, great rhythms and rife with integrity.

Score: 4/5

By Jamie Parmenter

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