John Fullbright – The Liar (Thirty Tigers)
It’s been eight years since Oklahoma’s John Fullbright last put out a record and for fans it’s felt even longer. His sophomore effort Songs, released in 2014, was a stellar album from start to finish, and The Liar – his latest – proves he was just getting started. Across a dozen new tracks, Fullbright careens from moments of despair to optimism and sometimes all in the same song (as is the case for the crushingly brilliant “Stars”).
The record is Fullbright’s most collaborative yet, deviating from mostly just being the loner at the piano churning out beautiful songs. You can hear that collaboration on songs like the remarkable title track, with guitars, drums and harmonica settling in nicely beside Fullbright’s piano. And this addictively soulful track also comes with his trademark piercingly witty lyrics (“If I can learn how to swallow pride like I learned how to swallow wine/I’d be doing so much better/I could walk a straight line”). Booze makes another appearance in the fantastic “Social Skills,” deeply funny but just as insightful (“So I drink this gin and I take these pills/just because I don’t have social skills”). But just as often as he is sharply funny, he can also turn in a song that is lyrically heartbreaking like “Unlocked Doors” (which was originally on his first record, Live at the Blue Door).
Recorded at Steve and Charlene Ripley’s farm studio in northeastern Oklahoma, Fullbright brought together a collection of some of the best musicians Oklahoma’s got – most who have worked with Fullbright before, including Jesse Aycock, Aaron Boehler, Paul Wilkes, Stephen Lee, and Paddy Ryan. These sessions were handled in an astonishingly quick four days. But despite the compressed timeline the album is hardly a rushed affair. It builds on the brilliance of Songs and From The Ground Up (Fulbright’s first studio album) offering a remarkable collection of affecting songs for emotions and moods that span the spectrum. Eight years is a long gap between records, but with just 12 songs Fulbright made it worth the wait.
Find more details and his tour info, here: https://www.johnfullbrightmusic.com