There is plenty to be found on this tasteful album from Paul Nourigat that echoes the sound of the classic American songbook and the golden age of the singer-songwriter. Hints of the poetic philosophies that sat at the heart of the songs of James Taylor or the folk fusions of people like Jackson Browne are never far from the surface. But, this debut album is certainly not a plagiaristic trip or tribute, it may follow a similar, solo troubadour template but then it is a template worth following and Paul Nourigat certainly makes it his own across the ten tracks found here.
Stuff That Works is a gentle anthem to familiarity and comfort zones but sitting at the other end of the spectrum is Bend Stars, also a nod to the continuity of the world around us but this time one that dreams big and marvels at its beauty and even contemplates things beyond our understanding. Sweet Home is all about the nest and creature comforts at the heart of our lives and It’s Your World now is a tender song that lyrical passes the torch on to the next generation and does so positively and purposefully.
This truly is a solo album, one voice and one guitar and just enough texturing and additional layers to fill the sound out and that’s it, you get the feeling that if you heard Paul play these songs live, they would sound pretty much the same, which, I would say, is the art and ambition of the singer-songwriter.
But the most powerful message here is not found on the album itself but is threaded through its back story. Paul Nourigat was a late-comer to the writing and recording process, I won’t be so indelicate as to mention his age but will just say that he had already lived a full life before fully realising his songwriting skills. And, because of this, Open Up My Days is a beacon for those who think that they might have missed their musical boat. It’s a great album, filled with understated and accessible songs, poignant messages and powerful thoughts. But the most poignant and powerful idea of all has to be this. It is never too late to try something new, chase a new dream or explore a new creative path.