I have always believed that the good measure of a folk album is how well its overall message resonates with the average listener. By that measuring rod, singer-songwriter Drayton Farley has just given us a great one with A Hard Up Life.
With the fourteen songs on this record containing lyrics that are immediately reminiscent of the humor and subtlety of John Prine, the directness and honesty of Bob Dylan, and the everyman gravity of Pete Seeger, Farley firmly establishes himself as one of the great American voices in folk and Americana music.
With a superior perceptiveness and overriding compassion for his fellow human beings, Farley delivers songs about work, love, hope. parenthood, relationships, the unfairness of life, and about the nature of existence itself that should be instantly relatable to anyone who has a pulse.
Anyone who has ever worked a dead-end job, who has ever been trapped by circumstances not of their own making, who has ever wanted a better world for their kids, who have fought to keep love and hope alive in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, who has ever dreamed of having a better life, or who have just looked up at the stars and wondered what we are all doing here will find solace and inspiration with this collection.
Underpinning all of Farley’s musical and lyrical creations on this album is a tough-minded optimism and belief that love is the saving grace of our time here on this earth as well as it being the motivator that makes all that we go through seem bearable.
While this is hardly an original concept that didn’t originate with Farley, it is one that we all need to hear from time to time from our songsters and songstresses.
For his part with this album, Drayton Farley delivers that message to us with a superior talent and poignancy that will reverberate through all of 2021 and beyond.
A Hard Up Life (Hargrove Records) by Drayton Farley is now available on his website.