Singer-songwriter David Jameson shows his hand on the very first track of this compelling country-folk album: On “25 to Life,” he sings “I’d rather be an outlaw,” and musically the tune sounds like a classic western gunfighter ballad. But some modern autobiography creeps into the lyrics when he sings of being “trapped in a high rise.” You see, Jameson’s de facto double-life found him working as a successful management consultant in Manhattan and around the world, while his side dream had him pursuing a music career; “chasing dreams and money,” as he puts it in the reflective “Gone Like the Wind.” So what we find here is a delicious swirl of fragmentary but evocative story-songs and ballads where it’s not clear what is pure invention, what is metaphorical, and what is drawn from real life.
Jameson has a strong and appealing baritone/bass voice—not as sweet as, say, Marty Robbins, nor as leathery as Johnny Cash—and a knack for convincingly inhabiting the characters he draws. He writes simple melodies and solid hooks, and instrumentally, the album is dominated by tastefully employed guitars: Jameson’s Martin Special Grand Performance Cutaway 15ME StreetMaster acoustic-electric, and multiple instruments played by Tom Hnatow, including pedal steel, Dobro, electric, and a few acoustic guitars—Gibson J-45, Martin Road Series, and Taylor 110-GB. Hnatow also helped engineer with producer Duane Lundy at Lundy’s Lexington, Kentucky, studio. Though the nine compact tunes run just 30 minutes, there’s a lot going on within them and plenty to ponder about them.
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2022 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.