Gold Star – Uppers & Downers (album review)

by Woody on September 11, 2018

Credit: Mic Becker

Marlon Rabenreither, the man behind Gold Star, has been a steady presence in my musical rotation since I stumbled across a set by him and his band at SXSW ’17. On Big Blue, released later that year, Rabenreither’s portrayed someone who’d been through some shit. On every track, the protagonist portrayed someone who was hurting, recovering from hurt or anticipating some hurt.

Uppers & Downers builds on the excellent Big Blue; Rabenreither painting timeless vignettes over mid-tempo Americana. Like the great tunes of Tweedy and/or Adams, the music provides a platform for Rabenreither’s vocals. The album opens with Crooked Teeth, a yearning tune where Rabenreither is at his best. The title track has Rabenreither singing over a faint organ, just enough to his vocals a bottom to keep him from caving in on himself. Lest I forget, Chinatown, a ghostly and ethereal track that just lopes effortlessly to it conclusion.

Rabenreither has a magical voice, one that makes you feel every emotion he’s trying to get across. How he isn’t routinely mentioned with some of the best singer-songwriters out there is beyond me?

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Gold Star is here

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