This year has been a beautiful year in music and it has been quite difficult for me to pick the albums I wanted to mention on this site, but I would be completely remiss if I didn’t mention the album I will focus on here. The album is called Fables and it is by David Ramirez. I have been listening to David for a couple years now so I was excited to see he was releasing a new album, especially since it has been three years since his last full LP was released. David is the type of writer and artist that wears his heart on his sleeve. When you listen to a song or album of his, you’re getting him as a person. A little piece of him is in every song and his brutal honesty has this way of gut checking you. I will hear a line from a song of his and just have to stop the record and just sit. Sometimes it is because he just beautifully put to words some idea I have had or it may just be some deep lament that demands a response. Either way, it is hard for me to sit through listening to Fables without multiple moments like this. I think I relate to David Ramirez’ songs more than maybe any artist I have listened to. His music speaks of heartbreak, hypocrisy, religion, and life. To me these are just songs of life and love, tributes to the moments and experiences that shape us into who we are. David seems to still be experiencing these moments and we are lucky that such an emotionally present human took the time to document each moment in song.
“My previous albums were a bit less personal. I always went in with a certain idea of what I wanted them to turn out like. I had never just walked in and said ‘let’s just see what happens.’ And that’s what we did this time. From the writing to the recording, it was just based on instincts.” -David Ramirez
I had the pleasure of seeing David on his Fables tour in October and it was pure magic. David is an amazing performer and hearing the songs live just takes them to another level. David Ramirez is just vintage Texas rock n’ roll. He’s everything twang and grit with a soul/blues tone that seems to soften the blow of his convicting lyrics. Above everything that David encompasses, I believe he is just a storyteller at his core. He paints a
beautiful picture and invites the listener into his experiences. The ideas that come across are dauntingly heavy, yet a subtle stillness seems to always come in somewhere during the experience. Ramirez just has a sweet spot to draw every emotion from the listener and thats the driving force behind this record and every record he has ever released. Ramirez even tackles the relationship between an artist and their fans and sometimes this comparison is not in favor of the listener, but that just shows me that he truly is honest and is not afraid to hurt your feelings or lose fans. He makes music that he wants to make and doesn’t seem to care how people react. As a music lover and songwriter this is refreshing to my ears. It’s refreshing to know their are still artists out there that write songs like his and the songs that come from his honest approach never seem to disappoint.
“I don’t want to just put more noise into the world. I want to put something out there that means something to me. And if it doesn’t, then I don’t release it. I don’t want to put it out there if I can’t stand behind it.” -David Ramirez
Fables is great from beginning to end. There isn’t a single song on the album I don’t love, but I am just going to highlight a few of my favorites. The album starts off with an upbeat song called “Communion.” “Communion” is a fun song with a simple little groove. It’s definitely a more light hearted song for David Ramirez, but as of any David Ramirez song, he talks about religion, love, and life. The second song is maybe may favorite of the album, it’s called “Harder to Lie.” The name of the album was derived from a line in this song. The track is simple musically with
with the steady brush of a snare, guitar pickin’, and the hum of a pedal steel, while Ramirez’ vocals beautifully blend with the melody. The song is really a confession of David to a lover, confessing that he lied and fed her fables of who he really was. I can relate to this idea of making someone think you are someone you’re not. The line “harder to lie” is David saying the farther he gets into the relationship and the more he falls in love the harder it is to lie about who he really is. It’s a wonderfully written song. The third song on the album is called “New Way of Living.” This song focuses on the reality that being a songwriter/artist isn’t easy and the realities of being a songwrter. The opening line says, “What do you say, when their’s nothing to say. Do you fill the silence, with a bunch of nonsense?” I love this line and this idea that some people just put out music because they have to or some other reason other than that they are actually ready to release a project that they really worked hard on and put their heart and soul into it. David seems to call himself to a higher standard and tackles the idea that this career path may not be for him anymore. The fourth track on the album is called “Rock and a Hard Place.” This track is one of the most confessional and honest songs on the album. This song feels like a diary entry of Ramirez, lamenting the realization that all of the lessons learned throughout his life came through hard times. It’s an honest and vulnerable song. The harmonies in the chorus are beautiful and the last verse is amazing. The songwriting and wit behind this song s amazing. There is also a great music video to this song. The next song I want to highlight on the album is called “How Do You Get Em’ Back.” This song is a love a song and I relate to it a lot. It is just a cry from David, asking how do you get em back, basically when they want nothing to do with you. The end of this song builds with an amazing crescendo in the bridge and ends with a lot of emotion. You can hear aching and longing in David’s voice as he cries out for answers. This song is another favorite of mine from the album. The last song on the album and the last song I will write about is called “Ball and Chain.” I absolutely love this song. It just has such a real feeling behind. I feel like I’m sitting down with an old man who has been a musician his whole life and he is just getting some things off of his chest. It feels like Ramirez just wants to set the record straight about what he does and what it costs him. This song is one of my favorites on the album and presents an amazing perspective into the psyche of an artist.
From beginning to end, this album is incredible. The songwriting, singing, and structure is something to rave about. I love David Ramirez and I hope he continues to grow and evolve as an artist, even though I have no idea how he could get any better.