12 Songs, 48 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The plainspoken and the profound come together on John Fullbright’s sophomore album, Songs, with an easy grace that’s little short of amazing. The 27-year-old Oklahoman displays a mastery of words and melody, and his lightly twanging voice gives a homespun feel to his finely wrought observations about life, love, and loneliness. Fullbright is a miniaturist, implying worlds of experience with a deft turn of phrase. Songs like “When You’re Here,” “She Knows,” and “Until You Were Gone” balance the idealism of youth with the wisdom of age as they reconfigure familiar language into something fresh. Fullbright’s acute perceptiveness can seem almost intellectual (as in “Write a Song”), but he’s also an adept storyteller, as the poignant “High Road” shows. His tunes combine melodically simple verses with unexpectedly sophisticated bridges, underscoring his lyrical depth. Songs’ production leans toward a classic folk-pop sound built around acoustic guitars and pianos (though “Never Cry Again” gets a full country-rock band treatment). Fullbright closes the set with “Very First Time,” a wry yet tender ballad that perfectly sums up the album’s understated brilliance.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The plainspoken and the profound come together on John Fullbright’s sophomore album, Songs, with an easy grace that’s little short of amazing. The 27-year-old Oklahoman displays a mastery of words and melody, and his lightly twanging voice gives a homespun feel to his finely wrought observations about life, love, and loneliness. Fullbright is a miniaturist, implying worlds of experience with a deft turn of phrase. Songs like “When You’re Here,” “She Knows,” and “Until You Were Gone” balance the idealism of youth with the wisdom of age as they reconfigure familiar language into something fresh. Fullbright’s acute perceptiveness can seem almost intellectual (as in “Write a Song”), but he’s also an adept storyteller, as the poignant “High Road” shows. His tunes combine melodically simple verses with unexpectedly sophisticated bridges, underscoring his lyrical depth. Songs’ production leans toward a classic folk-pop sound built around acoustic guitars and pianos (though “Never Cry Again” gets a full country-rock band treatment). Fullbright closes the set with “Very First Time,” a wry yet tender ballad that perfectly sums up the album’s understated brilliance.

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