Brian Fallon – Local Honey Album Review: The ‘next Springsteen’ adds his entries to the Great American Songbook
For those who aren’t aware of Brian Fallon, he’s a singer songwriter who hails from the same New Jersey town as The Boss and spent years fronting rock band The Gaslight Anthem. With two full-length solo albums behind him, Local Honey is Fallon’s first working on his own label alongside Nashville label Thirty Tigers (Isbell, Simpson, Prine). Although not billed as an Americana or country album, Fallon is well on his way to being respected as one of the finest lyricists in modern music.
Right from the opening track, When You’re Ready, the raw nature of Fallon’s vocals and heartfelt nature of the lyrics oozes through. Kept to a simple guitar, piano and drums, the song is the perfect introduction to anyone who hasn’t heard Brian Fallon. Hauntingly beautiful, splendidly sorrowful and inherently drenched in influence from the great American songbook. If you’re looking for an escape from ‘drink another whiskey breakup songs’, the lyrics “when you’re ready to choose someone, make sure they love half as much as me” will give your heartstrings all the tugging they need.
The same can be said of 21 Days, another heart wrenching breakup song but injected with hope in the big, positive chorus. Fallon sings “when it’s over we do the leaving, we do crying, we do the healing, and they says it’s 21 days ’til I don’t miss you”, showing the helplessness of waiting for that sinking feeling to disappear. For any country stars currently throwing these in willy-nilly, here’s how to responsibly use a drum loop!
Vincent continues the theme of sadness and loneliness, a clear motif running through this album. The sheer craft of the songwriting transports you into the pain he’s feeling in this song. Be prepared to be upset by the line “her name is Jolene, but I hate that song”. Beautiful piano runs through the song, creating a beautifully simple musical landscape.
I Don’t Mind (If I’m With You) flips the heartache and breakups on their head, as Fallon exclaims how the world can throw anything at him, even the worst dreams he had as a child, but he doesn’t care if he’s with the person he loves. It’s a perfect deconstruction of how the right person can bring out the best in you, and teach you more than you ever knew about yourself.
Midland have a song of the same title but this is no cover, Lonely For You Only, is a stomping song in the same vein as John Mayer’s In The Blood with its stomping, driving rhythm. A song about solidarity and finding the right person to stand together through life with and share the things that only you know, despite other people not understanding you. Again, the lyrics are thoughtful and full of heart, “they’ll never know what it cost you to be old, but to me you’re a dream, a divine mystery, and I’m lonely, lonely for you only”.
Horses is another wistful song. It’s peaceful and serene in the way Fallon sings about how he dreams of everyone finding forgiveness and freedom in life. “In my chains, I saw us running, free as all the pretty horses in my dreams” tells the story of Fallon feeling tied down by his past and the mistakes he’s made, but again, this isn’t a downer of a story. Fallon tells of achieving solitude in the most beautiful way as he offers, “In this life, change comes slowly, there is time to be redeemed, any lie you told can be forgiven, if you love enough to believe”.
As this album winds on, the heartbreak of the opening tracks turns gradually more optimistic and hopeful. Hard Feelings is no different, it’s a beautifully upbeat song about reaching your own version of heaven, forgetting those grudges and hard times. The refrain sums it up… “she calls me baby, like an old romantic, singing when I get to heaven there will be no more hard feelings”.
The album’s lead single, You Have Stolen My Heart, wraps the album up. A truly stunning and beautiful love song, Fallon is backed by a simple but powerful arrangement. Telling the story of meeting that perfect person for the first time and feeling like you’ve met before or were always meant to be. There are never any cliches with Brian Fallon, his lyrics explore feelings in the most intimate, raw and vulnerable way. The line “I know that you’re with me, so I have this fear, that one day I’ll wake up and you’ll be a dream” truly sums up the desperate feeling of loving someone so much that your mind is overrun by the fear of losing them.
Brian Fallon may not be a ‘country’ artist, but that doesn’t matter. Country music is lyrics, feeling, stories, real life and this album is all of that. The pure beauty that Brian Fallon evokes through his songs is on another level. Local Honey is a tale of heartbreak to hope, told in the form of stories that we can all relate to. Whether you call him country, Americana, rock, folk, whatever, he has songs that will speak to you. It may only be eight tracks long, but that’s all he needs to take you through this journey.
- When You’re Ready
- 21 Days
- I Don’t Mind (If I’m With You)
- Lonely for You Only
- Hard Feelings
- You Have Stolen My Heart
21 Days, Horses, Hard Feelings, You Have Stolen My Heart
Six Shooter Rating
8 out of 10