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ABOUT KNOWLTON BOURNE
When a dog has a broken leg, its taken out back and shot. When a man has
a broken soul he writes through the night. Recorded during a year he spent
working on a farm outside of Oxford, out of school and out of his mind,
Knowlton Bournes Songs From Motel 43 has a genuine youthful enthusiasm
that cant be faked. Its the sound of someone watching the world reveal
itself for the first time, each new experience something to be savored,
even the tragedy. Its alive & awake & terrified & enraptured. Open up
your mouth and say awe.
Because hes spent his whole life in Mississippi, 23-year-old Knowlton
Bourne cant help sounding southernits there in the twang you hear every
time he opens his mouth. But listen closely and you hear so much more than
americana. You can hear it in the hooks, you can hear it in the
arrangements, the popcraft that makes his songs stand out like knives.
Songs From Motel 43 is a perfectly paced album that builds upon itself
like a killer collection of short stories.
With one foot in the country and the other in the cosmos, it sounds at
times like a delirious collaboration between the Pernice Brothers and the
Verve. Call it Rural Hymns if you want to. Plenty of artists have written
a song called Hangin Around. Very few have written one that sounds like
it was influenced by Wire. And the Fennesz-like ambient second-half of I
Cant Tell/Run is beautiful enough to get lost for in days. Harmonicas
are drenched in effects until they sound like synths, while synths are
treated until they sound like cicadas.
So its obvious Knowlton Bournes heard a hell of a lot of music in his
short life. Raised in a musical familydad played Brian Eno records around
the house, mom played classical piano every night, an older sibling played
guitarit was inevitable hed make his own music one day. But it wasnt
inevitable itd be this good. Bourne combines the energy of youth with the
musical wisdom of someone twice his age. No wonder he appears destined for
In your early 20s, everything is in motion, unstable & chaotic, always in
flux. Songs From Motel 43 embraces that feeling. It evokes the magic of
that first road trip, seeing the highway unfold in front of you, waking up
in strange places. Its America as seen through a fresh set of eyes.
Everything in Knowlton Bournes lyrics might be looking down, but he
delivers them as if he cant wait to find out what happens next.