Big Skies – Ray William Roldan (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

28467724_1692601384167236_1353937180490822222_nThere is something of Midnight Cowboy’s Joe Buck character sitting at the heart of Ray William Roldan’s music, that same feeling of the country boy slightly lost and bewildered, bemused and amused in equal measure by the big city and its unfathomable ways. He sings of big skies and open roads whilst walking in the shadows of the urban sprawl, walks on stars embedded into the sidewalk when he would rather be seeing them in the night sky. This is the sound of country musics heart breaking, longing for the simpler life and feeling detached from its roots. But country music has always been the perfect vehicle for lamentation and regret, though Roldan doesn’t play for sympathy or pull the heartstrings, instead settling for world weary detachment with just a hint of nostalgia.

And that is the charm of the song and why it works so well, it is both wise and accepting, takes a sideswipe at the strange rituals and locations of urban life but knows whilst things could be better without saying as much the author understands that things could be a lot worse. And it is these lyrical subtitles and poeticism, and even what is left unsaid, coupled with dexterous guitar picking that weave together into a great song. One that appeals to the country masses but which is a far more supple and poignant beast than it may first appeal to be.

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