A warm appealing voice with engaging lyrics combine to create a fine debut album.
In recent times, the great state of Alaska seems to have been coming to the fore as something of a hotbed of fine Americana, and now Roland Roberts has added to the quality sounds emanating from that neck of the woods with the release of his debut album ‘All About The Timing’. Born in Memphis and with stops along the way in Alabama and Colorado, the much-travelled Roberts is now firmly established his adopted state.
Recorded just across the Canadian border at Old Crow Recording in Whitehorse, ‘All About The Timing’ is as good a debut effort as any artist could hope to record. Roberts has a fine expressive voice and he uses it great effect as he invites the listener deep into the lyrics of his songs as he sings of love, loss and heartbreak on tracks like the opener ‘Beautiful Soul’ and ‘Don’t Tell me Goodbye’, but don’t think for a minute that these will be full of overused cliches, they’re far from that. The lyrics have a beautiful clarity and simplicity, making them easy to relate to and Roberts warm vocal tones just draw you effortlessly into his world.
‘All About The Timing’ isn’t all about love and loss though, and it manages to change pace nicely as Roberts skilfully injects more upbeat tracks such ‘Sittin’ In Nebraska’ with its tale of being stranded by the weather with nothing better to do than sit in a bar and wait it out, while ‘Picture on the Wall’ examines some of the trials and tribulations of growing up. These upbeat tracks add a nice sense of balance to what is generally an easy-paced album which, while clearly rooted in classic country, manages to blend in more than a hint of delta blues, some bluegrass and a good dash of old-time folk for good measure.
Recognition is also due to the support provided by producer Bob Hamilton who combines that role with multi-instrumental playing duties, along with Sarah Hamilton contributing harmonies and fiddle, Bob Bergman on bass while Lonnie Powell and Patrick Hamilton share the drumming duties. The result is a high-quality debut album that combines fine melodies, with crisp lyrics and sets the stage nicely for future releases. One to watch.