The Sound of Keegan Joyce
There is such beauty in music. I’m an avid fan of pop music, and quite often, you’ll find me in the dark abyss of obscure electronica. Needless to say, I love that sound. As of late, I’ve been finding myself drawn to a particular sound; folk music is where my roots lay. I grew up on music where instruments were live and emotional — you could feel the drunkenness of living and love in every note. When Keegan Joyce announced his debut album, I was ecstatic. I fell in love with his laid back approach to music — having heard “Cooma” and then his breathtaking rendition of “Chandelier,” I fell ultimate in love with the actor and his musical talent.
“New Bridge Over Deadman’s Creek” ushers you into the singer’s knack for acoustic heaven and it’s just the introduction into something wonderful. With haunting strings, “Knowledge” is brooding and quite bitter, serving as the backdrop for a moment of betrayal. “Her Perfume” is melancholic; Joyce sings of finding ways to pretend his love never departed. “Cooma” was featured previously as a track of the day, and it remains a personal favorite — from the angelic voice to the humble offerings said about the town.
“Apparently I Was Selfish” has a familiar tone to it — the rapid playing contrasts everything else on the album, as if to keep everyone alert of the direction headed. Bluegrass, without a doubt, is in my blood. My mother listened to it throughout my youth and it stuck, and I’ve enjoyed the casual listening to it — the openness of the music. Upon hearing “Cry, Cry Darling” I knew it was going to be my favorite. With violinist and vocalist Jane Patterson featuring (and throughout the album as well), the two turn out to be a perfect match. There’s such emotion felt, I can’t help but belt along. “Sydney” lies upon the singer/songwriter approach, and I quite appreciate the natural flow of it. It feels like home listening to “Rock, Salt and Nails” — that familiar country melody twinged with folk and bluegrass.
The longest track on the album, “Midnight Train,” clocks in at almost nine minutes and it’s quite a number. The violin strings help warn listeners while Joyce begins a haunting tale. “Road Train Gone By” follows suit in a light bluegrass number with heartfelt lyrics. The title track is beautiful and genuine, there’s so much hope in it. Rounding off the album is the shortest track — under two minutes, “Jewel Atop the Crown” feels unfinished and polished at the same time; so much played and said that leaves me wanting more and nothing at all.
Snow on Higher Ground feels like home; it brings a sense of inner peace I haven’t felt in quite some time. It brought about the music I grew up on — from the poetic storytelling Dolly Parton is famed for to the honesty bluegrass is played with.