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Ronnie Fauss - Built To Break (2014)
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Ronnie Fauss - Built To Break (2014)

14-11-2014, 14:36
Music | Folk | Country | Rock

Ronnie Fauss - Built To Break (2014)

Artist: Ronnie Fauss
Title Of Album: Built To Break
Year Of Release: 2014
Genre: Country/Rock
Label: Normaltown Records
Quality: MP3 320 kbps
Total Time: 37:40
Total Size: 103 Mb

1. Another Town (3:23)
2. A Natural End (3:22)
3. The Big Catch (3:22)
4. Eighteen Wheels (Feat. Rhett Miller) (3:15)
5. A Place Out In The Country (2:59)
6. Never Gonna Last (2:59)
7. I'm Sorry Baby (That's Just The Way It Goes) (3:07)
8. Song For Zula (4:53)
9. I Can't Make You Happy (3:21)
10. Old Life (3:04)
11. Come On Down (3:49)

Ronnie Fauss’s Built To Break is the kind of album that musicians strive throughout their whole careers to make. Lyrically honest, with distinctive vocals and excellent musicianship, it’s the kind of lovely surprise that makes me love writing about music. It’s all the better to know that Ronnie Fauss isn’t the kind of musician who yearned to make records his whole life; in fact, he only began writing seriously after his first child was born, and even then it took years for him to share his songs, taking up singing once he realized he would need to to get his songs heard.

The songs on Built To Break are the songs of a grown up. The lyrics are frank and truthful, and Fauss has a great way with a turn of phrase. While the lyrics are intelligible when sung, it’s a real pleasure to just read these snapshots of moments in lives. The opener, “Another Town,” is propulsive and toe tapping, and sonically similar to an Old 97’s tune (any Old 97’s tune, almost) and more upbeat than one would expect for a song about a relationship imploding. Faust has an authentic, husky voice, perhaps a little like Paul Westerberg’s, suited to sing lines like “I’d rather live with a few white lies/than to kill you with the truth.”

When was the last time you heard a truck-driving song? Fauss is joined by Rhett Miller (of the previously mentioned, and will probably be mentioned again, Old 97’s) on “Eighteen Wheels,” a rowdy ode to truck driving with serious barroom swagger and tinkly piano from Chris Tuttle. The thoughtful “Old Life” also feels like an Old 97’s song; it’s up-tempo with color added from pedal steel and fiddle.

“A Place Out In The Country” hits that mid-1970s, Laurel Canyon sweet spot. The best line (of many), “I’ve got a lot of love inside me/and that’s where it’s gonna stay” is a special kind of forthright. “I’m Sorry Baby (That’s Just The Way It Goes)” is Dylanesque with pointed lyrics. Fauss’s voice is like a broken-in shoe (in the nicest way), comfortable and worn, and he couches his words with the sincerity of his vocals.

“The Big Catch” is the devastating heart of the album. A song about a divorce and the effects that it has on a child, it’s a captivating song with heart-crushing lyrics. Camille Cortinas adds pretty, understated harmonies that play off Fauss’s lived-in rasp. The last line is a gut punch.

There’s a thread of melancholy that runs through the last half of the album. The affecting, plaintive “Song For Zula,” the only song not written by Fauss on Built To Break, fits in thematically, though it comes across much more allegorical than Fauss’s own straightforward lyrics. Once again, Fauss is joined by Camille Cortinas on harmony and there is some pretty pedal steel. It’s a stunning piece of work. “I Can’t Make You Happy” is a glimpse of a day with lived-in sadness. “I can’t make you happy/even if I tried” and “Ask anyone you know and they will tell you/That everyone you know will somehow fail you” are sincere sentiments.

When you hear Built To Break, and you really should, you will marvel at the smart, heartfelt lyrics. You will be entranced by the fine musicianship. You will dig Ronnie Fauss’s voice, both lyrically and vocally. You will wonder what you have been waiting for and why you haven’t started writing songs yourself. He’s enormously talented, seemingly sprung fully formed from the forehead of Dylan himself.

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