From pop to rock to hip hop to country, music is increasingly being mechanized. Autotune, synths, mixers, and laptops are the items of choice, as artists focus on creating loud, anthemic, and catchy songs. Pockets, however, exist within each genre, where a musician or band rewind the clocks and create music from bygone eras. Their music is driven by a simple but embracing melody and features stories which should be read and not just heard. Singer-songwriter Zachary Cale is one such individual, whose indie-folk approach recalls Guthrie, Dylan, and Baez. To call him a throwback would be a compliment because he is a rare breed today.
Five years ago, the Louisiana-born, Brooklyn based Cale released the masterful Duskland, which was indie-folk given the widescreen treatment. Since then, he’s released a couple of EPs, including a covers one, but otherwise he’s been relatively quiet. Earlier this week, however, he announced that his sixth full-length album will be released later in the spring, and he shared its first single, “Riverbed”.
“Riverbed” is a classic slice of indie-folk and Americana. There aren’t any bells or whistles. There are just the familiar, sweet notes of a keyboard and a couple of guitars and the steady pulses of rhythms. Cale’s soft vocals, meanwhile, rise through the sweet melody, and he’s reflects on his life. For nearly five minutes, he delivers a confession, and, in the process, he seeks redemption. It is not through the concrete streets of Manhattan that he searches for forgiveness and a resurrection. Instead, he takes us back to Louisiana and the stream behind his childhood home. Together, we dip into its waters and find salvation.
“Gone down to the water / To throw away all I’ve got / And all I’ve lost.
And when I stand in the stream / Newly made I will be / I have only come to make it known.
There’s nothing left behind me / I wish to own.
There’s nothing to deter me / From coming home.”
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