Charlie Stout: "Dust and Wind: Flatland Murder Ballads and High Plains Hymns"
Charlie Stout “Dust and Wind: Flatland Murder Ballads and High Plains Hymns”
Oklahoma City – Charlie Stout hails from West Texas, but seems to travel just about everywhere. If you follow him on Instagram or Twitter you’ll see that he seems to be in a different state almost daily, and sometimes even a different country. He just recently got back from a month in Canada. Charlie is not only a fantastic musician and storyteller, but he is also a photographer, and his pictures are truly stunning. I can’t decide if I like his music or photos more, it’s really a tough call. Charlie is very talented at guitar picking and songwriting, and he has a way of weaving his songs with an insight of the human condition. Charlie’s music is a good balance of real country and Americana music. Charlie has put out a new album this last week called “Dust and Wind: Flatland Murder Ballads and High Plains Hymns.” It’s a live recorded acoustic album, recorded at the historical and abandoned First Presbyterian Church of Taiban in New Mexico on US Highway 60. An abandoned church seems like a great symbolic place to have recorded it, as the songs are almost all laced with religious undertones, but almost as if they too have been abandoned.
The album opens with I see Stars , which shows off Charlie’s storytelling abilities quite well. It’s an upbeat song with a distinct country feel, seemingly set in the olden western days. You can hear a train in the background and the chirping of cicadas which make it all that more authentic.
The Years That Go By follows with a steady rhythm and beat that flows throughout the song. Charlie’s guitar sounds sharp and his voice has a hint of being raspy, as he sings about all the things that he is in this powerful tune.
The Hanging is a sorrowful song, soft with a sweet melody which just makes it that more interesting. Charlie sings “heaven wasn’t meant for men like me…” as it follows the progression of a hanging. This song is definitely one of the murder ballads promised in the title of the album.
Next comes Resurrection Day, a melancholy tune that weaves a story about loss and regret and the things that come with resurrection day. It’s reminiscent of good old country songs back when they were genuine and real.
Say Goodbye follows with that same bittersweet taste, lamenting about all the things to say goodbye to in this world and life. It’s a woeful song in lyrics but is set to an almost happy tune, which makes it a unique blend, giving it an extra layer of depth.
Set Your Eyes on Things Below comes next, another great storytelling tune with wonderful imagery created by Charlie’s lyrics. It is heavily woven with religious connotations, but almost in a dark way.
Greater Than Gold (First Draft) comes next, and you can hear the train again in the background and the constant rhythm of the cicadas, which knowing that it was recorded live makes it seem that much more exceptional and noteworthy. This song paints a picture of different lives and lifestyles, all really searching for the same thing in the end, a prize greater than gold.
Sinner’s Prayer wraps up the album with a final woeful tune about losing the way and the will to fight. It’s packed with emotion in simple and subtle ways, and ends on the perfect note.
This album is the kind that you can find solace and comfort in as well as entertainment. It offers the kind of substance and sincerity that seems to be lost in a lot of music these days. I suggest you go and check it out. You can purchase it at https://charliestout.bandcamp.com/ and find out more about Charlie at http://www.charliestout.com/ as well as from his various social media pages.