Ian Charles isn't exactly country. But so what? Unlike most of Nashville's majority, Charles doesn't try to fool us. Thank goodness, an honest artist. And one who walks a straight line somewhere between folk and rock. The self-promoted album trots out 10 tales of life from a life lived here, there and just about everywhere.
Charles' rich portraits of wanderlust ("Eastern Standard Time"), meaningful memories ("Every Morning") and a lost 'n' lonely existence ("Downshift") come straight from the heart. And a pen that's more than able to relate life's nuances. Possessed with a soulful voice that aches ("Heavens' Key") with reality on his tongue, Charles' substantial talent lies somewhere below mainstream's often errant radar. And that's good. Unfazed and unfettered, Charles' sound seethes soul that pencil-pushing record execs just don't get. Still, quite like Gordon Lightfoot in the 1970's and today's Steve Earle, just how does one categorize Ian Charles?
Try foot deep in the heart of honest-to-goodness wonderful music.