The name Gina Villalobos and the words “Best-of-List” will likely be placed together fairly often, once the end of 2009 begins to roll into 2010. This impending pairing is due to the release of Villalobos” beautiful 4th studio album, Days on Their Side (Face West Records). Hailing from California, her geographical roots are prominent as the album has a laid-back and breezy feel, even as the songs delve into somewhat stormier terrain. As has been noted by many at the time of her previous releases, Villalobos” voice is simply tailor-made for her brand Americana-infused rock. Feminine without being frail, her voice aches without attempting to clone the growl of Lucinda Williams.
Having written each of the album”s 12 tracks, Villalobos gets started with “Take a Beating With You”. Her honest and raw lyrics do not attempt to apologize for, or explain, the absurdity for continuing to long for a lover that simply isn”t the right mate any longer, opting for the comfort of convenience over the unknown of moving on. When she sings, “I want to take a beating with you / Don”t want to talk to somebody new“, Villalobos isn”t reaching for obtuse poetics that would only serve to miss the point of best online casino feeling something so sad, and all too common.
To many, this album will likely remind them of Kathleen Edwards Failer record. While Villalobos is far more subtle in terms of dealing with her anger and confusion than Edwards was with her debut disc, the overall musical tone often gives out a similar vibe. Given that this album fits into the nebulous realm of “Alt-Country/Americana”, the instrumentation of each song carries a bit more weight than if it were to be merely a pop record. “Second Chance” features a crawling banjo that creeps along during the verse, giving into the satisfying climax that the chorus provides. “String it Out” features a soaring pedal-steel that sends each chorus into the sun-kissed golden horizon of her home-state. It”s in that song that Villalobos” vocal acts almost as a secondary percussion instrument thanks to her phrasing. Singing ever-so-subtly during the melody, her strong, whisper-like rasp aches as she ponders the questions contained in the song.
I know that it”s much too early to crown a champion album for 2009 (even though I started compiling my list in January with The Gourds Haymaker disc), but some of my favorite albums from this year have emerged from the Golden State. With the possible exception of Gram Parson”s resurrecting and getting the Burrito Brothers back together, it”s hard to imagine a record coming out of there that I will enjoy more thoroughly.
About the author: I likes me some wine, women and waffles, not always in that order (but usually). Chaucer is cool, but fart jokes are even better. You feel like spikin' your country with a little soul or mix in a little rock without the roll? Lemme hear from ya!!