Heartfelt, American music makes my world go round and round most
of the time. Lee Koch makes that kind of music; the kind of
music that has an unmistakeably American bent, country at its heart,
but with a more modern sound and a radio-friendly, poppy bent. That
is not a bad thing at all.
Koch's voice draws from the same magnificently unique well as Brett
Dennen. His songs are earnest and filled with heart, but the delivery
and unique voice are what elevates these songs above so many of his
peers'. Whole Heart starts off with a beautiful acoustic song
called Journey To Unfold that is based around acoustic
guitars and light drumbeats and is a perfect introduction to the voice
that you are about to fall in love with. This song will surely appeal
to fans of the new folk movement as personified by Mumford And
Sons and their ilk, but with a slightly more American feel. The
indie roots break through on Trusty Branch though, and
we are given a peek at the fact that Koch is obviously a bit younger
and draws much more from contemporary songs than one might have originally
thought. Breaking into the blues on Being Broke, Koch
invokes some lighter Delta fare with harmonica wailing and slide guitar.
It's all tasty and modern, once more drawing deeply from the wells
of American music.
Koch's deep soul shines through in a most earnest fashion on Shining
On Me. His lyrical brilliance calls out in a beautifully orchestrated
prayer, I thank God for this very day, the life I live is a
gift to me, I don't intend to waste it, and when it's tough I'll face
it/ I don't have much but I've got more than enough, a beautiful family
and a woman I love, I am a fortunate man and I won't take it for granted...
The song is soft, yet powerful and filled with inspiration and light.
It's the kind of song that everyone could use hearing once or twice
a day, a song that pays tribute to the troubles of life, but overwhelms
them with the light of love and living. Amazingly, at this point the
album isn't even half done. The other songs on the album troll the
fertile grounds of American music from the dark lyric and beautiful
fingerpicking of My Father's House to the lighter, bouncier
Our Feature, that may sound just a touch like the kind
of song Jason Mraz might record. The jazzier blues of Sweet
Release are filled with gritty organ sounds and cool, trashy
drums and wickedly harsh vocals while the album is tied up very neatly
with the Dylanesque barroom honky-tonk Keepin' On. It's
a nice, lighter-hearted end to an album that covers an amazing amount
of ground and does it well.
Whole Heart is an amazingly great piece of music from front
to back and, should the general public catch wind of it, we might
just have a new superstar on our hands. I might not have mentioned
it, but these songs all draw deeply from the wells of true American
music and tie that spirit nicely into a neat, modernly-produced package.
Lee Koch's songs and voice will appeal to the younger crowd of music
listener, but also to those older folks who truly appreciate the value
of a well-written song. Beautiful music for a beautiful life.
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