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Nathan Ignacio

A Step Behind

Review by Gary Hill

This disc is based heavily on a roots music kind of sound. In fact, everything here is seeped with retro elements. There is an authenticity to it, though. This doesn't feel artificial or contrived. The song writing is strong with a real knack for powerful story-based lyrics. While the mid-portion of the disc is purely timeless, the opener and closer both have some more modern elements in place.

The bulk of the set lands in a zone bordered by country music, bluegrass and folk. The opener, though, includes a modern angle with some sound-bites in the extended introduction. The closer captures a 1970s blues rock vibe. While the bulk of the album is strictly acoustic, that last tune is based all on electric guitars.

The long and short of it is that if you like your music with a lot of retro sound in the mix, this is something you should probably give a spin. It's short (just over half an hour) which means it never feels tired or redundant. Instead, it's a blast of old school sound that has a real genuine and sincere vibe to it.

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Track by Track Review
She Never Knew
Acoustic guitar elements create the opening of this. A clip from "The Pursuit of Happyness" is heard creating an inspirational moment. The piece gets quite powered up and inspired as it continues. The vocals bring a bit of a country, down-home twang. The tune has a great folk rock kind of vibe. It's a classy number and a solid start to the set.
I'm Not Broken
A slower, sound is the driving element at the start of this cut. Some bluegrass shows up in the picking that enters after the first verse. This is another classy cut.
Harmonica lends an authentic and rather sad air to this song. The piece has a blues element, but overall is country-tinged folk music. The more stripped back and simpler approach on this brings some immediacy to it. The cut also provides some variety in the process. I like the electric guitar bit on the piece.
Blame It on the Heartache
The harmonica returns on this number, but the piece has more energy and drive and a lot of bluegrass in the mix. This is a fun cut that has a real hoedown kind of basis to it.
Vincent Black Lightning
There is a lot of country music in the mix here. It's another energetic tune. It's also quite catchy. I dig the violin (or should I say "fiddle") on this song. It really adds a lot of magic. While the tune seems rather happy, the lyrics are sad.
A Step Behind
Slide guitar and harmonica are the emphasis at the start of the title track. This is a slow moving, rather bluesy country folk tune. This gets quite powerful and intensified further down the road. While it might not be my favorite song here, it is probably the most potent. That makes it a great choice for title track.
Broken Hands
The closer is a big change. Electric guitar and a real rocking sound bring it into the blues-rock zone. It's a real powerhouse with a lot of cool and style. It's also my favorite song here. The harmonica brings something tasty and special to this. In some ways this makes me think of early Led Zeppelin just a bit. It does get a bit of a parental advisory.
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