In 2017, Bathurst-based musician Andy Nelson began playing his songs across the Central-West of New South Wales, bringing his blend of folk-based indie to a slew of local venues. It wasn’t long before he began to expand on his sound and enter the realm of songwriting, and after several short months, Andy had written and recorded his eponymous debut EP, a four-track release of enveloping songs about family, love and loss, all tied together with a rustic Americana style.
After taking the album public and making a series of appearances on the Small Halls Festival Tour and at several festivals such at the National Folk Festival, The End Festival, Inland Sea of Sounds, Andy withdrew to a secluded farmhouse in Kangaroo Valley to focus on his debut full-length album. Recorded with award winning producer and drummer from the highly acclaimed band, 19-Twenty, Syd Green, ‘Man on the Mountain’ arrived earlier this year, bringing with it nine-tracks of reflective melodies and resounding, folk compositions.
An album steeped in universal, and yet deeply personal themes, ‘Man on the Mountain’ brings to the fore a series of songs about family, passion, and the age-old yearning to follow your dreams. Met by glistening streams of acoustic guitar and slow, building percussion, Andy’s lyrics are woven into a lavish tapestry of sound, bringing the emotional impact of his words and the rich sounds of his composition to a rugged, musical plain of his own making.
Opening with the title track, it’s clear that Andy has built on the sound of his previous EP, taking his folk roots and pushing forward with a new sense of maturity and emotional vulnerability. Tracks like ‘Hold Me’ and ‘Late Night Letter’ hang on his every word while acoustic guitar strings float in the background, while more upbeat songs such as ‘Sell Your Soul’ and ‘All I Want’ showcase an evolution in his songwriting process, offering some unique twists and tricks that add to the character of each track.
‘Northern Dream’ and ‘Crumbling Down’ close the album with a perfect balance of depth and levity, bringing a sense of closure to the roaming spirit of the previous seven-tracks. They’re paced to perfection and the cascade of notes that flow down upon Andy’s vocals showcase his ability to produce textured, nuanced songs that both capture and reflect life’s most authentic moments.
It’s true that throughout the album you’ll hear the influence of acts such as Iron and Wine, Ray Lamontagne, and even ‘The Boss’, Bruce Springsteen, but more than that, you’ll hear Andy forming his own unique sounds. As each track plays, you can hear Andy stripping away the sounds of his influences and breaking into bold, new ground where he can present the most pure and refined version of his music. As an album, ‘Man on the Mountain’ is a breath taking and rewarding journey to take, but as a step forward for Andy as a musician and artist, it’s completely without equal.
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