Originally published in the Rapidian.
My next music review for WYCE 88.1FM is on Stover
Label: self-produced 2010
I received a copy of “Flesh Wounds” by Grand Rapids musician Justin Stover that was packaged in a simple brown paper bag, with his logo stamped neatly on it. The simple design of the accompanying insert gives a brief description of the albums inspiration, his relevant contact info, and the lyrics for the 5 songs on the disc. Even though it was kind of an unconventional way to package a cd, it carries an appealing minimalist esthetic, and provides a simple and honest presentation without pretension.
The 5 songs on Flesh Wounds are solid and simple, honest and intelligent. Sincere and receptive in nature, though a slight element of unruliness pierces through in a few spots. Much of the sound is reminiscent of Steve Earle or Ryan Adams in the song structures, overall tone, and vocal delivery. Something about the vocals in the chorus to track #4, Ladybug, has a very John Lennon feel in the atmosphere. Stover’s music is a strong blend of country and southern rock influences, but the songs would definitely stand as solo acoustic performances.
Stover’s lyrics make a fine art of turning the ordinary experiences of everyday life into something quasi-transcendental. A sublime truth is evident in his writings as he almost confesses his songs to the listener.
Local musicians Justin VanHaven, Mat Churchill, Nathan Kalish, Dustin Anderson, and Ben Abney contributed to the album.
Best Tracks: #3 Half-Assed Revolution
FCC Naughty List: NONE
Who would like this cd: fans of Steve Earle, Ryan Adams, Nathan Kalish