REVIEW: Austin Plaine Paints Vivid Lyrical Pictures on ‘Stratford’


As music fans, we listen to different albums for different reasons. Sometimes we listen for the beat. Sometimes we listen because it’s the soundtrack for a road trip. Sometimes we listen for the lyrics. Stratford by Austin Plaine is one that should be listened to for the lyrics.

The best storytellers know how to create an image with their words. When he sings, “I found his number on your floorboard folded in a pack of cigarettes”, there is no mistaking either the image or the emotion that is being conveyed. He goes on to sing “I can’t understand what kind of man you’re waiting for.” While you might guess that this is a sad country song, you would be incorrect. The song is an upbeat mix of country, rock, and soul – particularly with the organ – that belies the heavy theme.

Sometimes you hear a song and you can’t help but realize that the songwriter has a distinct way with words. “Lucky Ones” is one of those songs. The song begins with a muted tone – just acoustic guitar, piano, and vocals. It picks up at the chorus when Plaine sings, “Hey I’m dancing with you tonight. Forget about all the harder times.”You can say that you don’t like love songs, but you might be made of stone if you can’t find a place in your heart for this profound tune.

When you listen to “Young and Wild,” you can’t help but notice the similarity to “Mockingbird” by Ruston Kelly. The tempo is deliberate and the melody is airy enough to provide a lonesome feel. This is a song built on layers of sound. In fact there are so many layers of sound, it’s kind of hard to discern them all. The lyrics express an “American love like Jack Diane”, which is the perfect reference for a song about being wild and young.

Whether he sings rising above the tough times in life or longing for the way things used to be, Plaine’s lyrics are evocative. He clearly spends a lot of time finding the right word for the situation. If you’ve ever written anything, you know how difficult it is to choose the right word for every situation. Yet Plaine manages just that. Stratford (Blaster Records) will be available everywhere on June 28. Order your copy here.

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