Gill Landry - Gill Landry
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Gill Landry (ATO, 2015)

Gill Landry

Reviewed by Kate Everson

A self-named album is rare to come by these days, even when it comes to indie folk country artists like Gill Landry. But the Old Crow Medicine Show member releases his third solo album under his own name, setting the stage for an album that's supposedly all and only him, but echoes of his group work.

For example, "Just Like You" has a party-bluegrass sound that's one of the most toe-tapping pieces on the otherwise introspective album, a characteristic that harkens back to his work with the group that made "Wagon Wheel" a Midwestern bar sing-along staple.

But as much as it's easy to point to Landry's hiatus from solo work as a stand-in for Old Crow Medicine Show as a driving force behind his 2015 album, there's a distinctly different tone that emerges in the songs. While the band's sound was meant to be communal, Landry's is personal - the kind of album meant for breakups and quiet triumphs.

"Funeral in my Hearth," the opening piece, has a plucky tune to back morosely poetic lyrics. It's not even two minutes long, but it sets the tone for the artistic (some would say pretentious) writing ahead.

"But my heart is a prison with you on my mind," Landry writes in "Lately Right Now," a song that's directed at an unknown woman named Mary. But unlike so many songs with named dedications, this one is something that everyone can relate to with its lament toward absent love. "Mary, I wish you'd come around/sometimes I need you, lately I need you right now."

The standout track is "Long Road," the penultimate track that combines Landry's musical ability with his creativity. Like the last track, "Bad Love," it carries a Tom Waits-like darkness that's bittersweet and emotional. But it also stands out as one of the most thought provoking "call to action" types of songs.

"Gill Landry" is a successful album that draws on its makers' group and individual experiences. Fans of Landry's band work will enjoy its catchiness, but those who are drawn to soul searching will find the introspection they crave.

CDs by Gill Landry

Love Rides a Dark Horse, 2017 Gill Landry, 2015

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