John Goraj – Possible
[tags: acoustic, folk, singer-songwriter, 2008]
Listen while reading:
As promised, here is the second post for today and I have to apologize to all readers of CFM for not posting anything the last two days. But I hope with John Goraj (born in Sioux Falls/South Dakota, but now living in Los Angeles/California) I can bring you some really lovely music for the beginning of the week. I think it quite possible that you have heard about him, because back in 2008, when Possible, the album I’m going to write about, was released, both You Crazy Dreamers and Slowcoustic featured John’s music. So, why would I do a review just now? The answer is simple: because John contacted me and I really don’t have the heart for not supporting great acoustic folk music if I can lay my hands on it.
This being said, I hope you already crave Possible. And doing so is just natural because the album got a fascinating aura of honesty to it. Acoustic guitar and vocals are the main elements of all the tracks, which are supported, as often in folk music, by banjo and cello (if I’m not mistaken here). You see, the cornerstones for a good listening experience are placed. But does John Goraj achieve to get the right filling? Stupid question, of course he does and he mainly uses two strategies. The first is characterized by reducing the tracks to their core to get to the heart of music. This reduction can be heard in the awesome Across Your Mountain or the album opener Woven. Both tracks stand out because you think that you are really near to the music and the musician. This closeness opens the door to really feel with the artist and to get near him, but it also keeps away, at least a bit, the possibilities of writing more complex songs with more instruments involved.
That brings me to the second strategy I spoke about and that is quite the opposite of the applied reduction, for it is replaced by harmonies between different instruments which are layered on top of each other. This implying leads to very different songs clearly distinct from the ones mentioned above. The most outstanding example is the title track, because it combines acoustic guitar, banjo, cello and different singing styles to one complex example of great songwriting. Where the first strategy leads to more intimate songs, the second strategy leads to more intensive ones. And this doesn’t mean that the more intimate ones aren’t intensive or vice versa – they just have a different focus.
So John Goraj recorded an acoustic folk album that meanders between those two shores without losing the fluency at any moment. Along the way questions are asked such as: why we are, why do we love and what is love? Every human being is lost in a river, everything moves around him, has to move, but, and that seems to be the question above all others, how and where should we adhere, what is the secret to swim in this river and not only get flushed away? So much for integrating metaphors into my reviews, but I think the picture describes the album quite appropriate. And if you are willing to ask these questions for yourself, don’t hesitate and listen to what John Goraj is saying and thinking. Feel with him and let him inspire you.
Honestly, if you have some money left and you want to fill one open spot in your music collection, don’t hesitate and head over to cdbaby.com and buy your personal copy (physical copies as well as MP3s are available). For more free streaming tracks and possible updates on forthcoming releases visit John’s MySpace. To say it briefly: this is fine folk for fine folks.