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House of blues

Chris Auman

Nathan Xander Blue House

Nathan Xander
Blue House
[Trailer Fire Records]

Nathan Xander returns. Not that he went away, but he is back, nevertheless, with an album full of homesickness and being homeward bound. The Pennsylvania native is based in New York City these days, but he has enjoyed a period of wandering that has seen him living the nomadic life of a troubadour. This is evident on the 12-tracks of Blue House, which was recorded in Upstate New York, in a barn, painted blue, providing at least one meaning behind the album's title.

Xander delivers his goods with simple acoustic arrangements and heartfelt crooning in a strained, world-weary voice. It's an approach that's he employs straight out of the gate on the opener, “Mount Washington,” a slow burner of longing if there ever was one. Like most of the songs on Blue House, it’s got an old school country twang combined with pop sense.

The album continues to deliver with "Over Me, Over You," another slow and sad jam that would be at home on the jukebox next to Patsy Cline. "You're Never Wrong" captures the warm glow of 70s AM radio but washed in reverb and melancholy. "Enoch's Blues" does indeed have a bluesy swing that's hard to resist. "Pennsylvania" is about Xander's home state in which asks to be brought home because he hates his neighbors and he hates his job, but he doesn't hate Pennsylvania yet.

There’s a sense of loss and being forlorn on Blue House, but there is a bit of defiance as well and Xander’s more versed in country than the blues, anyway. Whatever mood the songs reflect, the production remains bright and the pace never drags [Nathan Xander]

READ: A review of Nathan Xanders self-titled album.

BUY: Blue House

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