One Track Mind: Joel August, title song from Distant Shores (2013)

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This is the title track for a sophomore release that’s been five years – and a lifetime – in the making. Twice, guitarist Joel August has put his dreams for becoming a musician on hold. This time, following the belated 2008 debut Dreams, he’s throwing everything he has into it.

“Distant Shores,” an elegiac journey, reflects that emotional commitment. The song opens with an angular beat, and a keening, melancholy guitar – and it lingers there, conveying a story of enveloping sadness in each crying note.

August records now in a home-built studio, and that necessarily means he’s tracking the rhythms – but, in this case, that polyrhythmic cadence’s looped effect adds new drama. The track doubles back on itself, stopping just for the briefest of moments before starting again, an effect that deftly conveys the cyclic nature of love, experience and of life itself.

Along the way, August’s explorative, deeply emotional notes keep drawing you back in, back toward a plunging well of sadness. “Distant Shores” isn’t about catharsis, so much as ruminating on something, searching but not necessarily finding – but feeling it all, completely.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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