By DONNA BALANCIA
William Lawrence has released “Send A Line,” the first single off his solo album Slow Dancing On A High Wire, due Aug. 1. Like the rest of the dreamy tracks on this understated album, “Send A Line” has an elusive, emotion-evoking quality.
There is a tremendous originality to the songs on this new album, which introduces a real craftsman to an audience that has been long-starved for something new in the singer-songwriter niche.
Lawrence is no novice. He’s a recording and touring member of The Felice Brothers, and has also recorded and toured with Conor Oberst, Gun Outfit, Mail the Horse, and others.
The production on the album is top drawer and the clever and sparing use of varied instruments ranging from sax to snares lends to the overall tone.
But there is a vulnerability to Lawrence’s voice that effortlessly captures the heartstrings. That, blended with a cool confidence inherent in the music has a tremendous impact.
With Slow Dancing on a High Wire, the humble Lawrence crafts a collection of stories previously believed possible from only a writer with more years under his belt. There’s a road-weary sensibility to the songs that grab at the heartstrings and they tell of the journeys of love and love lost in a compelling and new way.
The works speak of longing, disappointments and achievements much in the style of James Taylor, Nils Lofgren or Jimmy Webb. It’s a different world than when those prolific writers first made their mark, but the question remains: How can one find and keep love in today’s world?
It’s mind boggling to ponder even where to begin to answer that. But Lawrence, who’s apparently paid his dues in that department, strikes out on his own and maps out his own aching journey.
The diverging experiences of mankind make it impossible to suggest one way to happiness, as so many have tried to do. Lawrence simply tells his own stories. And while this is not a party album, anyone who wants to hear some of the most beautiful music released so far this year should have a listen.
Particularly emotion-evoking on the album are the tunes “Back From Where I’ve Been,” “Gallows,” “Places Of Our Own,” and the lead single.
Many have songwriting ability. A lot of people can sing. But to get a true blending in the vein of some of the strong rock folks of the 1970s is a nifty feat. Lawrence pulls it off with this gem of a record.