Could this be the year of meaningful, poetic Americana Folk? My life was completely changed by Marc Berger’s Ride and now we’re progressing on to Jim Clements’ The Road To Anhedonia.
With rolling purpose and southwestern bass reminiscent of The Outlaws, Clements sparks a fire of folk and songwriting that you’ll want to let burn while you dance around its glory with praise and raw enthusiasm.
Made up of a nine track journey, The Road To Anhedonia is a trip layered with folk beauty. Light and honest, the record waxes within the confines of optimism and wanes within haunting depths. If Clements were to gargle with some whisky prior to stepping up to the mic he’d scratch off the borderline James Taylor vocals and add a level of abrasion to his deep lyrics. Now kids, don’t go try this yourself because simply destroying your vocal chords won’t make you better. Clements incorporates brilliant songwriting with well-timed, appropriate instrumentals. His masterful songwriting ability is vital in setting him apart from the alt-country scene.
Though the album walks a straight line of breakup and the post heartbreak journey into acceptance and change and acceptance of change, it is not entirely dreary. There are the lighter tracks (“Four Leaf Clover” and “All I Ask”) mixed within the slower down-tempo (“The Fox In The Garden” and “The Whitest Shoes”) to balance out the album and keep you from wanting to be medicated. With the help of the band (Rolla Olak, Rob Butterfield and Richard Clements) The Road To Anhedonia incorporates guest artists (Jenn Bojm, Henry Beckwith, Joseph Lubinsky-Mast and Meghan Engel) to master the depth reached within the album. The culmination of the album comes in the form of “Downtown Epilogue,” a fantastic seven and a half minute track rising to an emotionally charged electric guitar led jam session.
Though it is easy to quickly imagine a raspier vocal delivery, I would be hesitant to change anything. Jim Clements’ originality makes The Road To Anhedonia memorable and vast. To change this would change the album entirely and I just can’t get behind changing this one bit. It is albums like this that make me strongly believe 2012 is the year of Americana Folk.