Sometimes band members go their separate ways so they can explore other avenues of creativity. Even if you’re favorite band does this (much to your chagrin), you can benefit from it. The Gaslight Anthem is on an indefinite hiatus, which is probably a disappointment for their fans. However, Brian Fallon has made some really good solo albums since the hiatus began. On the new album Local Honey, Fallon again shows that while band breaks (or breakups) may not be the best thing, they can still produce good results.
“When You’re Ready” has a very folky beginning – almost like Fallon is channeling Woody Guthrie. You can hear it not only in the fingerpicking on the acoustic guitar, but also in the lyrics. He sings, “In this life there will be trouble, but you shall overcome.” After the intro, the piano and drums add layers to the sound. Then you realize that the lyrics are an open letter. “Though I don’t want you to grow up, cuz I don’t want you to leave. When you’re ready to choose someone, make sure they love you half as much as me.” This is a heartachingly beautiful song that you’ll want to sing to your kids.
That’s just the beginning of what is obviously a very personal album. In “21 Days”, he sings, “I miss you most in the morning. We used to talk over coffee. Now I’m gonna have to find another friend.” Even if you don’t know who the subject of the song is, you can’t help but be impacted by those lyrics. He keeps those thoughtful lyrics coming in “I Don’t Mind (If I’m with You)” when he sings, “The wind’s getting colder, and the night’s getting cruel. But I don’t mind, I don’t mind if I’m with you.”
On an album filled with great lyrics, perhaps the most evocative song is “Hard Feelings”. Fallon paints a vivid picture that includes “a slow song playing from a baby blue Mercedes”. While that might be the most vivid image in the song, it’s not as potent as the lyrics, “It’s hard when you hurt to let somebody wreck you again,” which just begs to be made into a tattoo.
This album is a bit of a break from the rock that Fallon has played for so long. In that way, it bears a similarity to Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. A guy who has made a living playing rock strips his sound way down and tells vivid stories with muted melodies. And yet it’s the stark sound that makes the album that much more powerful because it turns the focus to the lyrics that repeatedly hit you right in the heart. Local Honey will be available everywhere on March 27. Order your copy here.