This Life Must Be Long is the sixth album by Roof Beams who are from Washington DC and revolve around songwriter Nathan Robinson alongside Bill Smyth and Phillips Saylor Wisor. This album was recorded since the start of Lockdown although much of the material was written in the before times.
The A-side opens with the title track This Life Must Be Long that has a cool sparse country vibe as they hope that Life really is long and doesn't end too soon. The sparse percussion that leads into the acoustic Dylanesque harmonica solo is cool and almost makes it feel like they are sat playing this on a porch.
Outer Rings is a slow careful road song that feels like the acoustic end of Neil Young filtered through something like New Country Rehab it moves at a very slow deliberate pace that helps to accentuate the vocals.
Buckle sounds like it could be ramped up live into a song with a real flamenco folk feel to it, the music is gently intoxicating as the pleading pain and humor in the lyrics comes through.
Carry On is about the advice you get when you go to your pastor with your problems and how often that advice isn't what you need or would help you, how scarred have you been by your youthful experience and how do you move on from what happened in your youth.
The B-side opens with Awareness feels like a bleak midnight plea for help that reminds me of Knowlton Bourne as the slow strummed acoustic gets towards the heart of the matter.
Clean Break is a song about walking away an trying to save yourself and to see the bigger picture and not to be quite so self-centred, you may even find some salvation as the music helps to make you quaver while keeping calmer than you actually feel as you burn with resentment and try to figure out if you want to remain religious.
Witness Me is a tender plea to be heard and to be forgiven or helped to find a better way forwards and will you witness his confession without him having to go and sit in the confessional as all his pain comes out through the harmonica.
The album closes with My Business that has a cool buzzing sound at the start and the most prominent drums on the album as the plaintive vocals leave you in no doubt what it is, he wants to make sure His Business is dealt with how he wants as he tells us "there is no other way through this." Which is a thought many of us have had in the last year or so, while he seeks resolution and some peace.
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