Record Review: Rocky Votolato

Rocky Votolato
Television of Saints
Seattle, WA
(Undertow Music Collective)

“Grand solo exploration yields mighty contribution to American folk”

Originally hailing from Dallas, and now a Seattleite, Rocky Votolato is a contemporary songwriting legend and has released fantastic folk albums for nearly 15 years. Votolato, much like Damien Jurado (they’ve appropriately toured together) has released a broad body of music weaving between busy ensemble albums to intimate solo anthems.

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A doppelganger to his True Devotion release, Television of Saints is mostly upbeat, yet remains internally centered. The opener “Little Spring” enters like a warm season following a solitary winter and features the finest melodic hook on the release. The concentrated and longing, yet beautifully charismatic “Ghost Writer” precedes the craggy gem “Fools Gold,” where the former crescendos into the latter with a sinister electric guitar snaking through the foreground. “Sunlight” beams bittersweet, like a trip into the abyss and Votolato sings with a lens onto himself: “Mental health where have you been hiding / These illusions they can be so blinding.”

Television of Saints isn’t just one of the Votolato’s finest releases, it’s one of the finest folk albums in years. Nearly every song has single potential, each wrought with maturity. Taken as a whole, it’s the most cohesive folk album since M. Ward’s Hold Time.

Engineered by Rocky Votolato, Casey Foubert, Louie Lino, Ryan Hadlock, Alek Edmonds, & Mike Turpin

Mixed by Casey Foubert and Louie Lino

Mastered by TW Walsh

Produced by Rocky Votolato

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