Fullbright's Sophomore Album Features Spacious, Confident Songs

Meredith Ochs reviews John Fullbright's second album, Songs.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Singer-songwriter John Fullbright's debut album catapulted him from obscurity to a Grammy nomination for best Americana artist. That was in 2012. Now Meredith Ochs has this review of his follow up album titled simply "Songs".

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HIGH ROAD")

JOHN FULLBRIGHT: Susie was a pearl of a woman. and Jack was a golden man. She told him she loved him forever. And he gave her a wedding band.

MEREDITH OCHS: John Fullbright went into making his second album with two proverbial boulders on his shoulders. Number one, he's an acoustic guitar wielding tributor, who hails from the same Oklahoma town as folk songwriting legend Woody Guthrie. Number two his debut album was nominated for a Grammy. If Fullbright feels a lot of pressure, he certainly doesn't show it on his new album. Which is as laid back as it is self-confident.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHEN YOU'RE HERE")

FULLBRIGHT: Some are lovers, some are leeches, some are flings on sandy beaches. Some are silent 'til the chances are all gone. The Queen of hearts dreams a lover, from that cold, cold King above her, while the Joker makes his bed up all alone.

OCHS: So what makes John Fulbright good enough to prompt comparisons to the likes of Townes Van Zandt. Maybe it's his voice, provocative and world weary beyond his years or his melodies that play gently and continuously in your head, long after his new album reaches the end. Or his spacious and sometimes unexpected arrangements that let the songs breathe on their own accord, like they do on this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "KEEPING HOPE ALIVE")

FULLBRIGHT: Days, Cliche's and throwaways, trying to learn better ways, it's getting harder to survive.

OCHS: Writers tend to gravitate toward what they know, so John Fullbright writes a lot about, well writing. And busted love affairs. When you're 26 and trying to perfect your craft as a songwriter what else is there?

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAPPY")

FULLBRIGHT: Every time I tried to write a song, it always seems to start where we left off. Tonight I'd rather stand up straight, looking it in the eye and won't you tell me what's so bad about happy.

OCHS: Even the title of John Fullbright's new album has a workbench quality to it. But just when you start to think that he needs to get out more, a hint of his Oklahoma drawl or a whistled verse gives the song a sense of place and establishes that for Fullbright, there's a restorative quality to going home.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GOING HOME")

FULLBRIGHT: The hole I've worn, inside my shoe, is where my soul is slipping through, the sidewalk ended, I'm going home.

BLOCK: The album from John Fullbright is called "Songs" it was review for us by Meredith Ochs. She's a talk show host and DJ at SiriusXM Radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "GOING HOME")

FULLBRIGHT: The voice stopped singing. I'm going home.

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