Songs From Youth is the new album from Woodstock, USA-based folk singer songwriter Moody Jr.
By Graeme Smith
As you might guess from the title, Songs From Youth is a collection of autobiographical stories from Moody’s younger years. It opens with Breaking Into Cars, a tale of teenage delinquency as an act of trying to assert yourself on the world around you. It plays out through delicate and charismatic vocals sung over echoing guitar. It’s lovely.
Catholic Girl feels set in a similar period but explores the theme of sexual awakening and its antithesis to religious practice. It’s dark, sultry but ultimately tinged with a sad nostalgia.
Things get livelier with the Americana infused Firefly, a meditation on mortality. The childlike chorus asks: “firefly, why do we die?” It speaks of a loss of innocence and learning that life also means death. It’s wonderfully observed.
With the mood and themes set, the album continues to unfold through vignettes that aren’t afraid the explore the darker side of growing up. One Day speaks of some of the shameful things we do to try and fit in, and rebelling against the status quo where we see wrong. “I made this album about my childhood because it was a lot cheaper than therapy,” Paul states. You very much get that from One Day.
The gently plucked Past Life comes next, then it’s previously released single Super Nintendo. A stripped back waltz, musically it’s one of the album’s lighter moments, but lyrically it doesn’t hold back. It’s an album highlight and the addition of banjo is a nice touch.
The album closes with Tangled Up and Twins. The former is minimal acoustic folk which deploys repetition well. The latter is a short and poignant epilogue, and a return to the exploration of death. The arrangement is rich and ends things on a emotive note.
I love all the music I share here on York Calling, but ever so often I hear something that’s really special. Songs From Youth is that. Full of authentic emotion, beautifully articulated with much thought put into how the music supports the story – it’s an album you simply have to listen to. You can check it out below.