Lawrence Rothman “The Plow That Broke The Plains”

KRO Records, 2024

A powerful confessional record which is layered musically and lyrically to reveal more on each listen.

Cover art for Lawrence Rothman's 'The Plow That Broke The Plains'Lawrence Rothman’s career covers a lot of areas of the music and arts world – songwriter and performer, producer and engineer, soundtrack compiler and label/studio owner.  Gender fluid from an early age, Rothman grew up in St Louis but left the city as a teenager in search of a more tolerant and accepting environment.

The genesis of their third solo record ‘The Plow That Broke The Plains’ was a wake-up moment experienced in the emergency room at a Nashville hospital which brought Rothman face to face with his acute body dysmorphia and anorexia.

The episode is at the heart of ‘LAX’ the second song on ‘The Plow That Broke The Plains’.  Rothman says  “My world was falling apart, and it took my body physically breaking down for me to acknowledge I was slowly destroying myself.” With an almost classic country sound, strings and a sweet harmony vocal from Amanda Shires, melody and performance stand in counterpoint to the confessional lyric.

Their recovery following treatment saw Rothman returning to the guitar and writing with Jason Isbell.  One product of those sessions was ‘Poster Child’ which opens with an almost disco sounding call of the title before it sets off an autobiographical tour of Rothman’s past and puts its question “Can we use that?” before answering “yeah we can”.

Throughout the album, the combination of sweet melodies, lush accompaniment and backing vocals and Rothman’s deep vocal sit in stark contrast to the dark content of the lyrics which address their own clearly traumatic personal and historical issues as well as the struggles faced by the LGBTQ+ community whether from their environment or family.

Recording of the songs that make up ‘The Plow That Broke The Plains’ began in March 2023 at Nashville’s Sound Emporium studios. It was recorded mainly live and produced by Rothman and brother Yves, with whom he co-owns KRO Records.  In addition to Isbell and Shires, singer-songwriter S.G. Goodman is credited on the blistering ‘R, Blood’.

‘The Plow That Broke The Plains’ is a strong set of songs if a little harrowing for an empathic listener.

7/10
7/10

About Richard Parkinson 117 Articles
London based self-diagnosed music junkie with tastes extending to all points of big tent americana and beyond. Fan of acts and songs rather than genres.
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