Having originally started out in life playing classic 90s rock as a teenager, David Ramirez eventually stumbled across a collection of artists that set of an expansion in his interest in the singer-songwriters of the 60s and 70s, primarily Bob Dylan and his love for folk music and a desire to bring it into a more contemporary light is something he has been doing ever since. This year saw the release of his trailblazing new album We’re Not Going Anywhere, an album that is the very embodiment of everything Ramirez ever set out to produce.
Deep, passionate and almost brutally introspective, We’re Not Going Anywhere is a perfect introduction to Ramirez’s work as it exemplifies his stunning ability to take a simple folk or country melody on an acoustic guitar and somehow infuse it with a playfully vibrant electronic ambiance. The songs the produces are warming, vivacious and at times absolutely magical. Songs like Villain are dark and simple, transporting you to a dusty highway while songs such as Time contain mesmerising melodies that shoot you straight to the stars with an almost hedonistic tune. What’s impressive is that when Ramirez produces a song this jubilant the lyrics don’t always match the feeling of the song and that is something that makes him so daringly appealing. His music is eloquent, charming and sentimental but his lyrics are often poignant, reflective and tug on your heart strings with ease. His ability to carefully combine vibrant tunes and melancholic messages creates a charming juxtaposition that ensures his words are heard above all else.
Ramirez’s influences clearly span both genres and generations and this can be heard filtering through his work. If you listen carefully you can hear elements of Bob Dylan and Tom Waits while in other fleeting moments you can hear subtle traces of the likes of Chris Isaak. These evocative nods to music greats can’t help but warm you as it sends you on trips down memory lane. Ramirez is a stunning musician who can create melodies and messages that will echo through your mind for weeks but where he really shows his talent is when he sings. With a deep and soulful voice that is rich, smooth and filled with sentiment, Ramirez sings in an immensely personal fashion. Coupled with his tentative and deeply personal lyrics this makes for a poignant sense of intimacy between Ramirez and his listeners. By the end of We’re Not Going Anywhere you can’t help but feel that you have seen Ramirez’s soul and that somehow he’s seen yours too.
Folk is a particularly versatile genre that can be adapted to suit most preferences but what David Ramirez does with it is beautifully unique. Shifting the genre into a more contemporary spotlight Ramirez creates a soulful blend of sound that shuffles together folk, roots, blues, rock, electronica and country. This heady concoction of sound crafts an album that spans decades and creates an astonishingly timeless sound that will doubtless influence young musicians for decades to come.
Review by Joe Knipe