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Sunday, October 20, 2013

R Michael Rhodes - Please Remember Me

R Michael Rhodes - Please Remember Me
2012, R Michael Rhodes

R Michael Rhodes continues to follow the boomerang of his life.  During the 1980’s Rhodes recorded sides in Nashville and had some minor chart success.  The path forward seemed clear until domestic responsibilities collided with his music career.  Rhodes chose the path of love, duty and responsibility and built a life around family.  But as nests began to empty and new pathways began to open, Rhodes found himself once again called by his muse.  Rhodes writes with a straightforward elegance, a pure observational songwriter.  His latest EP, Please Remember Me, is a collection of lamentations over loves lost.

Rhodes leads with the heartfelt duet "You'll Never Know", featuring an undisclosed female vocalist. This is a nice lead track, well written and sung with two voices that complement each other very well. Rhodes himself has an unobtrusive voice, but sings with a sincerity that's appealing. This comes across strongest in "Chasin' Ghosts", the lament of a road warrior who finally realizes he's been searching the wrong path all along. "Where Are You Now" seems a likely follow up after discovering the person at the end of the right path has stopped waiting. The chorus is beautiful in its sadness, and is sung without the dramatic clichés you might expect. 

Rhodes rolls into "A Little Bit Tighter", another son of regret, this time about a childhood romance. This is the lament of a man seeing his schoolboy crush marry someone else, and the perquisite 'what ifs' implied. Rhodes closes out with one final, hopeful lament with "Special Place For Me".  This gentle act of martyrdom is more self-soothing than anything else, and the easy country strains of the arrangement mark the precipice of a long winded goodbye. 

If it is true that songwriters write what they know, then R Michael Rhodes is one of the unluckiest artists you'll hear in 2013. This EP might properly be retooled Lamentations, and that heaviness weighs listeners down in spite of the generally gentle beauty of the music. Fleshing this EP out into a full length album interspersed with some more vibrant material would make it easier for most listeners to consume. As it is Please Remember Me is too inward focused and self-soothing to be of much interest to most listeners, regardless of how well written and how sincere it might be.

Rating: 2.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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