Just as it should be

Tim Howard, the instigator of Soltero, has been at this a long time. He's been writing and performing for more than two decades, and this is his eighth outing as Soltero. You'd think he would have a handle on how he wants to sound by now. You'd be right.

Western Medicine Blues

Howard's day job is in media production (near as I can tell), and the sound of this album is constructed with brilliant precision. The arrangements are well-designed, and Howard uses instrumentation as a method of communication as well as anyone I've heard. What I mean by that is that when there is a guitar playing, there is a reason for that guitar. The very presence of a particular element is part of the message of the song.

On the surface, of course, that's not so apparent. Howard's Lou Reed-plays-Bon Iver delivery is intoxicating, and these slightly klunky pieces ramble by pleasantly without shambling.

That's some serious skill points, there. Howard has been at this a long time, he has executed a wonderful album, and perhaps most importantly he has retained the energy and intensity of a fledgling artist. Quite the set.

Jon Worley

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