Posts Tagged ‘songs from motel 43’

Knowlton Bourne at the Clarion-Ledger

Jackson native Knowlton Bourne, 23, debuted on Misra with a “cosmic country” sound that incorporates influences like the space rock of Spiritualized, the storytelling of Townes Van Zandt and the harmonic distortion of My Bloody Valentine.

The album’s opening track, “Summer Sun,” features a distorted harmonica that drones in the background like a tiny synthesizer. The fourth track on the album, “Done Movin’ On,” features ambient pedal steel guitar. Between the harmonica and pedal steel, he’s using two instruments with a limited genre association of country and Americana in a unique way.

Bourne accomplishes more with less. His successes come not only with colorful and succinct songwriting, but with an atmospheric feel to the album. Even after a song finishes playing, its resonance seems to linger for seconds afterward.


Knowlton Bourne at Stereo Embers

What would a train sound like if it could express the loneliness it feels speeding through a dark deserted night? If I were forced to guess it would sound eerily similar to the sigh and echoed dual harmonicas announcing the lazy swoon of a groove that opening track “Summer Sun” luxuriously occupies on newcomer Knowlton Bourne’s debutSongs from Motel 43. Dusted by what you might call a languid brashness and the drawl of some hot afternoon blues, the song, as a calling card, is resplendently astute, all the way down to the bubbling space synth outro that pulls that train down some cleverly unexpected tracks. As made immediately clear thenceforth as first single “Hangin’ Around” kicks off with the ‘slow funk jam’ setting on a bedroom Casio before sliding into its laconic Vilesque mojo, Bourne is not your standard trooper in the Gram Parsons Memorial Marching Band. Though country touches sparkle everywhere – the young man reps his roots with an inescapable down home authenticity – Knowlton’s version of Cosmic American Music© eschews the Nudie suit baubles and the homagistic motifs that come with it (whereas pedal steel is present here and there, you won’t hear a single lap steel crying anywhere on this record) for something more akin to denim-clad ameritronica. In many instances – the bucolic gallop of “Greyhound,” the soulful, ennui-laden sway of “I Can’t Tell/Run” – the sprawl sprawls until just the moment it needs hauling in, when Bourne slips the reins on and does it like it’s no big deal, does it with the swift immortal reflexes of the precocious 23-year-old he is.

Essentially, then, the gentle strum that hides the anxious, slightly askew heart, equal parts willowy and angsty,Songs from Motel 43 – and its author – belies its range of influences while embracing them with a warm Southern hug. The scrapes on the acoustic’s fretboard during “Done Movin’ On,” while inescapably iconic, are mic’ed up so high they pierce the piece’s simple beauty with the sense of a jabbing sharp pain, making it seem like this fresh-faced, barely-begun-shaving kid’s possessed down to his marrow by Bukka White or somebody. “Motel 43″‘s country clop could’ve been programmed by Conny Plank, the pedal steel haunting like a Louisiana synth and yet the track still rises and drifts all misty and fine, its cantoring existentialism both homespun and world-weary before its author’s time, while “The River (For Nels)” – one assumes Cline? – bristles with the quiet restlessness of a young man weighing young man options, the song heavy with all the ruminative equivocation suggested by Bourne’s doubled up guitars – a heartfelt acoustic strummed and picked with a lifer’s surety, an electric picking out an incidental lead that’s as country sweet as it is awash in a tossed-off rockist nonchalance – bringing it all back home where it inevitably belongs, the baptismal flow of the titular waterway still well intact.

The pick, though, may well be “Glow,” as luminous as its title and almost searing with its deliberative emotive tone, closing out the album in a kind of majestic humility that, once again, and for absolute certain, establishes Bourne as a (ahem) born standard-bearer of the transcendent singer-songwriter class. He may not exhibit the bedizened leitmotifs of the sainted GP but Songs from Motel 43, at the very least, suggests that a copy of the record should be sent to Keith Richards and pronto. A fellow traveler has arrived.


Knowlton Bourne at Whisperin and Hollerin

I can’t ever remember getting sent anything from Cheyenne, Wyoming before so it was a pleasant surprise when this CD arrived and it turns out to be by a guy from Oxford, Mississippi.

It comes with a cover that I assume is from a room at the same Motel 43 which titles the LP. The opening Summer Sun kind of reminds me of No Easy Way Down by The Rain Parade if they had gone a bit country and a bit electronica at the same time. It certainly draws you in to a world highly alien the one I inhabit in London.

Hangin’ Around has more of a chunky, slightly fuzzed guitar riff over which Knowlton sings about Hangin’ Around like he’s suffering from the sort of ennui that can only come from being in the middle of nowhere with nothing much to do. Then just as you might be giving up hope, the weird noises come in and take us off someplace else. It’s like an early Pram record and it’s a fleeting glimpse before he keeps on Hangin’ Around hoping he doesn’t get accused of sounding like the Dandy Warhols.

I Can’t Tell/Run is a nicely strummed laid-back, countrified indie tune with some good echo-y vocals and it’s more of a jog than a run. I was sort of waiting for it to break out when in fact it breaks down for the end coda when it goes all ambient mood music at the quietest end of Anathema’s catalogue. It’s a rather eerie end to the song.

Done Moving on has a nice twangy feel to it and is in similar territory to Sturgill Simpson but with a subtle undertow of slide guitar and some odd noises that sort of grow as the track continues in rather an effective way. Greyhound is a song about the bus rather than the canine or reggae kind and is a gentle ride through the countryside.

The title track is next and has a late night feel to it as the song’s protagonist asks his partner to go out on the town over some simple but effective percussion and some long sustained notes on…is it a guitar or a moog or something else? Either way a cool whooshing sound takes over as if you’ve ended up in a very very laid back chill out room.

Gallup, New Mexico is a real one horse town of a song that opens with some carefully placed and strummed guitars that almost sound like harps and sort of drift off before the song bleeds into The River (For Nels). This one is a bit more conventional and, no, I don’t know if it’s for Nels Cline or some other Nels. It does, however, seem to be a love letter to the Motel 43 and is gently engaging on its own terms.

The album closes with the gentle laid back feel of Glow; almost like you are looking up at the sky and the stars are glowing above you as he sings about an ocean all around you so it could be you’re on a raft floating somewhere nice.

This is a cool album of countrified indie with an undertow of electronica and it’s very easy to listen to indeed.


Knowlton Bourne at POP! Stereo

Mississippi born and bread Knowlton Bourne isn’t your typical singer songwriter. Sure the guy sounds a bit country but he’s definitely not as buried in the roots of the Deep South as being from Mississippi would seem to indicate. Oh no, Knowlton sounds more like his long lost brother is Richard Ashcroft and he’s spent his whole life in Wigan as opposed to the US. His album Songs from Motel 43 is a soaring psychedelic trip through the cosmos in the back of a F-150.
Songs from Motel 43 is a fantastically airy record that lets Knowlton’s vocal stylings sweep over the record like a great Condor coasting on a breeze. The record is vast and expansive and leaves his countrified influences in the dust for a more spacey intergalactic feel. The songs have their ups and downs and a few dirt road twists and turns but at times the whole thing seems rather heavenly and angelic. I’m not sure how Knowlton stumbled onto all this deep in the heart of Mississippi but it’s pretty amazing that he did. Songs from Motel 43 is fragile, beautiful, and so much more than the sum of it’s parts.
Bourne has taken heartbreak and isolation and painted a splendid picture of it that’s as stark and intriguing as the album cover that graces Songs from Motel 43. I really didn’t think I would like this record but it has totally won me over through it’s Verve-ish vibes, sweeping songs, and sense of starkness. This is quite possibly the best record to come out of Mississippi in the last 20 years and as such should be in your collection.


Knowlton Bourne at Pittsburgh in Tune

The music of 23-year-old newcomer Knowlton Bourne might take a little while to grow on you. The Mississippi native plays a type of Southern shoegaze that might put off listeners looking for catchy, hook-filled melodies.

Bourne ‘s debut full-length, “Songs From Motel 43,” didn’t do much for me on the first spin, but I found myself enjoying it a little more each and every time I listened. He’s a talented guy with a bright, bright future and patient listeners will be rewarded.

If the opening salvo of “Summer Sun” and “Hangin’ Around” tickles your fancy, chances are the rest of “Songs From Motel 43” will, too. Bourne impresses n “Done Movin On,” “Motel 43,” “The River (For Nels)” and terrific set closer (and second single) “Glow.” With a bit more seasoning, I have little doubt that Knowlton Bourne has a truly great record in him yet.


Knowlton Bourne at AllMusic

The debut long-player from the Jackson, Mississippi-based singer/songwriter with a name that sounds like it should adorn the cover of an Antebellum-era etiquette guide, Songs From Motel 43 findsKnowlton Bourne wrestling with twenty-something wanderlust by offering up a Deep South rendering of breezy Southern California power/slacker pop that conjures up images of lost small-town weekends and old federal highway farm stands while invoking the names of decidedly non-regional artists likeKurt Vile and Ty Segall. Bourne‘s Bible Belt-oblivious Americana is rich with classic rock undercurrents and nods to early-’90s indie rock, but his laconic drawl and penchant for punctuations with distant, freight train blasts of reverb-laden harmonica lend a distinctly rural timbre to the nine-song set. In his bio Bourne cites a childhood spent listening to, among other things, Brian Eno, who looms heavy on the album’s more ambient-minded cuts like “Gallup, New Mexico” and the back half of “I Can’t Tell/Run,” the latter of which is pure stoner Lindsey Buckingham, but for the most part Bourne is content to keep things relatively straightforward, with highlights arriving via the aptly named “Summer Sun” and its like-minded Modern Lovers-esque counterpart “Hangin’ Around,” both of which occur early on. Much of the remainder of the set is devoted to largely pastoral folk-pop pieces like “Done Movin’ On,” “Greyhound,” and the evocative title cut, all of which have a tendency to drag a little but manage to skate by on atmosphere alone. A sprightly 23 years old at the time of its making, Bournesounds both boyish and bruised, cocky and hesitant, but never does he sound musically conflicted, and that’s what ultimately makes Songs From Motel 43 feel so authentic.


Knowlton Bourne at Big Takeover

Mississippi singer-songwriter Knowlton Bourne is a man desperately on the run from nothing at all.

On his debut album Songs from Motel 43(Misra Records), the 23 year old constantly mulls over the bottomless threat of a “long way down.” He tackles this fear by hitting the same lonely highway taken by many a songwriter before him.

While the nature of his journey evokes country, elements of indie rock and ambient music cast a looming psychedelic backdrop against his late night escape.

“I Can’t Tell/Run” expertly blends these two influences together. “It’s a long way down/and I’ve been feeling out/out of it,” Bourne sings on the song’s first half over rich harmonica and guitar. Later, the track bleeds into a humming soundscape, with the same harmonica transformed into cosmic synths.

On first single “Hangin’ Around,” Red Red Meat style guitar chug soundtracks the moment where Bourne first describes feeling mired in idleness.The accompanying videoshows the singer despondently shuffling from one activity to another, occasionally eyeing the camera with a deadpan stare.

The title track features an alien organ fluttering gently over a cycling guitar melody. Bourne is alone on an ever-stretching road, fighting sleep when he croaks,“Oh the world goes around/but I don’t want to be afraid.”

Finally ,the denouement arrives on “The River (For Nels).” The song is the standout on the record, with a twinkling arrangement Hiss Golden Messenger would sound comfortable picking over. Here, a newly optimistic Bourne begins to unpack all the findings of his existential road trip.

Wherever this young thinker plots his next course, it’ll be well worth it to hitch a ride.


Knowlton Bourne at This is Books Music

Songs From Motel 43 (Misra) is an album by Knowlton Bourne for those who love their rock on the rustic side of traditional, or whatever traditional is meant to mean these days. In other words, it sounds like the kind of rock that you might hear from someone like Tom Petty, the type that isn’t afraid to simply rock out while sticking true to its roots. It’s also not afraid to try a few new things while throwing in small hints of the past to let listeners know where they’re from, and where they’re going. I say thi sbecause Bourne comes off like a musical travelog, ready to let people know about his paths and what it takes to get there while also telling everyone what it’s like to observe and share his feelings of what he’s experiencing at any given time. The music isn’t too flirty nor does it limit itself, it’s the sheer amount of power that never goes overboard for the sake of knowing how to do it. He just does it, and quite nicely.


Knowlton Bourne at Stereo Embers

Existential slacker blues nonpareil, Mississippi’s favorite son Knowlton Bourne has produced a debut record that deserves the type kudos we reserve for the preternaturally talented ‘very young.’ Just 23 years old and thus defining ‘precocious,’ Mr Bourne’s brand of molasses-grooved rock’n’roll has a thematic affinity with the Kurt Vile-Adam Granduciel axis of unsprung indie naturalism that suggests some sort of underground musical railway link between the magnolia mellow sway of his deep Southern roots and the urban stoner reflexes being explored up north in Philly and Minn/St Paul. Whatever, SEM is proud to present the debut single from Knowlton Bourne, who’s insatiably sweet mojo has seduced (and reduced) us into a state of helplessly acquiescent, head-nodding bliss. Full album review coming soon, but in the meantime, drink in the syrupy, ecstatic sound of the new New South.


Knowlton Bourne at God is in the TV

23 year-old Mississippi native Knowlton Bourne has given us the honour of premiering his new track ‘The River (For Nels)’ a chiming slice of Americana-jangle-pop-craft written during his time spent working on a farm outside of Oxford. It’s laced with Knowlton’s south drawl that paints expansive storytelling-like narratives that capture the hopeful yet anxious feeling of being free for the summer. Listen here:

Click through to listen!