Texas born Americana artist Ed Dupas has a long history with playing music, having spent many years partaking in acoustic cover sets. It’s only in more recent times that he began to embrace writing his own material though. The decision to do so came about at the behest of friends and fellow musicians, ultimately leading to the creation of his forthcoming debut album, A Good American Life.
The twelve track compilation gets going with its eponymous effort, which showcases a gentle riff behind a rich refrain. Picking up the pace as it progresses, it’s a soft and stirring opening number with a strong country/folk flavour. “Remember My Love” features a warm and emotional instrumental introduction afterwards ahead of another pleasant melody. The enthusiastic guitars and purposeful percussion lend it a vibe more akin to acoustic rock.
“This Old Town” emerges from its wake upon a solemn riff that plays out subtly alongside mellow vocals. This is before the beat raises the tempo while remaining restrained. It all amounts to a peaceful and moving entry that bears a soothing ambience. “Flag” follows as another reserved undertaking whose affecting atmosphere washes over the senses to provide a relaxing listening experience.
The fast and fervent acoustic riff of “Home in Time” excites on the way into a resonant melody. It’s a lot simpler than its predecessors, but its spirited execution means that it also ends up being a lot more powerful. Its slow and lackadaisical successor, “Until the Blues Come ‘Round”, crawls forward at a snail’s pace, yet manages to convey a great deal of feeling and expression.
Lamenting lyrics resound across amiable instrumentation as “With Love You Never Know” heads towards a heartfelt and optimistic chorus. There’s a very tranquil tone throughout, which results in a touching country/folk ballad. “Whiskey Bones” taps out of its aftermath into a lively display of guitars and drums before a solemn and sincere harmony takes off. A well co-ordinated duet soon grabs the spotlight to captivate during the chorus. It all eventually culminates in an arresting instrumental salvo ahead of a final volley of serene vocals.
“Train” is a placid but affective addition that builds continuously and thrills as it periodically erupts with vigorous vocals and bracing guitars. “You Don’t Get to Explain” distinguishes itself as a poignant and forceful composition next, despite its delicate demeanour. This is soon superseded by the optimistic riff of “Too Late Now”, which skips along merrily beside a reflective melody. Its instrumentation grows consistently as it unfolds, developing quite an intensity. Things calm back down then for “Without You”, the introspective and thoughtful nature of which make it a sombre and sedate finale.
While there is an unmistakable country flair prevalent throughout the record, it shouldn’t discourage those who are not fans of the genre. The material Dupas has put together here is really as much soft rock as it is anything else. Each of its entries rest easy on the ears and exhibit an inoffensive style that carries a fair amount of accessibility. Keep an eye out for A Good American Life when it hits Ireland and the UK on August 28th.