REVIEW: David Starr’s “South and West” is Beautiful, Poetic, Sad, Yet Powerful


The latest release from Colorado Americana songwriter David Starr is a gem entitled South and West, a collection of beautiful, poetic and somewhat sad songs with a warm and organic production that draws you in and wraps around your heart. Recorded at Addiction Sound Studios in Nashville and written in David’s hometown of Cedaredge, Colorado near Grand Mesa (one of the most beautiful flat top mountain areas in the world), South and West is skillfully produced by David himself.

His endearing voice, songwriting and arrangements are seamlessly brought together by his powerful and talented band. The electric, acoustic, and lap steel guitars of Dan Dugmore and Mike Severs, Erik Stucky’s sweet mandolin stylings, the piano, organ and accordion of Howard Duck, and the super tight yet understated rhythm section of Mark Prentice on bass and Tommy Hayden on drums flesh out this collection of dynamic and powerful songs. These tracks are more than Americana, bigger than modern country, and too powerful to be categorized as country rock. They are a sonic painting of life and love, and you can’t help but be drawn in for the whole CD.

From the opening track “Good As Gone”, with its driving rhythm and soaring slide guitar, you’re hooked. The first single “Don’t Give Me Hope” features harmony vocals by Irene Kelly that evoke both hope and heartache. “Maybe You’re Not The One” is a modern two step whose title says it all. Its endearing plea for love soars beautifully above the poignant lyrics. “Could Have Run Together” is a warm reminder of deep songwriters like Jackson Browne and Jason Isbell, but David Starr stands out with his own unique style. “Love Won’t Make Itself” rocks while keeping it’s subtle dynamics and heartfelt message. One of my favorites is his cover of Elton John’s “Country Comforts”…..soulful and quite country comfortable. Covered in 1969 by Rod Stewart, this version is an instant modern classic.

“Night Rolls Around” with its cool mandolin and sweet melancholic lyrics draws you in and makes you feel a part of the beautiful heartache. “Until It’s Gone” features the brilliant lyric “Of the Ten Commandments I’ve broken nine, and the tenth I believe I’ll break in time” offset with a steady rock beat and a funky barrelhouse piano. “Nothing Short” starts off with a groovy phase shifter electric guitar, warm fingerpicked acoustic guitar and grand piano that are nothing short of epic sounding. “If Nothing Changes” has a slightly harder edge and commentary that sounds like it was written about our world’s current state of affairs. “Suddenly I’m Home” is about love and lament, set to a sweet guitar and piano that dance around a cool shuffle beat with a tasty little bit of accordion for flavor. The closing track, “These Damn Goodbyes” is a poetic and lyrical masterpiece with a glorious electric guitar solo, bluesy electric piano, and some truly cool organ sounds. I absolutely didn’t want this CD to end. Kudos to David Starr and his band for creating a magnificent collection of modern Americana music with South and West. Get your copy, here.

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