Album Review – Jeremy Parsons – “Things To Come”

Artwork: Pj Schenkel

This is one of those records that doesn’t get written if not for the keen insight the best songwriters posses; how they’re able to articulate the world of emotions and moments in a way that we all feel, but can’t ever seem to find the right words to express for ourselves. It takes deep introspection, a bit of toil, and the natural talent all the best songwriters have that leaves all us laymen marveling.

The latest record from Jeremy Parsons called Things To Come is a far cry from his 2010 debut when he was standing on the cover in a cowboy hat and Western coat, and starting the set off with a song called “The Night Hank Williams Died.” Eleven years later, and the hair of Jeremy Parsons is now past his shoulders, and the hat is stashed in the closet. The sound is decidedly more contemporary, and any twang is more tempered. But the songs are still there and country at heart, and perhaps more honestly rendered as he’s found his own voice as opposed to trying so hard to emulate his country heroes.

From San Antonio, Texas, the artistic renderings of Things To Come feel very much in the vein of Texas country and Red Dirt—a little bit more sensible in style and approach, while forging an intermural relationship between country and rock. The writing reminds you in parts of John Baumann or maybe even Evan Felker, and the music and mood have the laid back and restful attitude of Flatland Cavalry. With ambient steel guitar and dobro, and at times a host of percussive addendums to compliment quality melodies, this is an album to lose yourself in.

Still full of the hopes and dreams of a young man, but blessed with the insight and wisdom of putting a few years behind you, songs like “Things To Come” and “Good Ole Days” from this record speak to life in your late 20’s to your mid 30’s—wistful and reflective, yet still with the latitude to forge new paths and make grand life decisions.

But it’s the writing of “Masquerade,” and later “Looking Back” where Jeremy Parsons really impresses by fearlessly delving into places many of us are too leery to go: the lies we tell ourselves, the people we become for others, and the distance we put between or true nature as the twists and turns of life obfuscate and confuse us from our original purpose. It all calls for a breather, an honest assessment, and if need be, a recalibration before time slips away and you’re too entrenched in your trajectory to enact a course correction. This is what Things To Come is ultimately about.

Mostly mid-tempo, with no real blazing instrumental solos or dramatic style shifts between songs, the record instead relies more on mood-inducing ambient movements looking to envelop you as opposed to simply entertain. But if you’re unwilling or unable to find yourself submerged in the messages and music like Jeremy Parson’s instructs both actually and metaphorically in the song “Sit and Spin,” the album might come across as a little mundane, with not enough dynamics to earn your rapt attention.

Yet others will relate intimately to the words, and find Jeremy’s insights and sentiments curiously similar to their own, and the music smartly composed. Whether the forks in the road you face are hypothetical or real, are about what town to live in, who to be with, what job to take, or perhaps other major life decisions like choosing sobriety such as Jeremy Parsons did while writing this record, it’s these transitions that end up defining who you are, and deserve the deep pondering and keen reflection Jeremy Parsons gives them in Things To Come.

8/10

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