Review written by BRAD MILLS
SLA-HET-KA is the correct pronunciation. On Heart of My Hometown, the recent release from Szlachetka, learning to articulate his name will prove much easier than defining the sound of the album. Szlachetka approaches each song with an attention to detail that gives the tracks a Pop shine. The production on Heart of My Hometown keeps a blue-collar beat pulsing as Szlachetka delivers a bar band anthem for its title track, putting a rock’n’roll rhythm underneath as the story rips off its rear-view mirror and heads out on the highway towards the bright light of promise. Katelyn Clampett joins Szlachetka as muted strums and orchestrated strings pick “Wildflowers on the Highway” while a second chance does the math for its mistakes in “Algebra” as Heart of My Hometown channels thunder for the rhythm rumble of “Dark Clouds Over Me” and taps out the time for its heart to start beating again in “Until the Echo”.
Review by Dan MacIntosh
Szlachetka may not have an immediately recognizable country name, but many of his musical influences are instantly familiar. And while the steel guitar is front and center on “Algebra,” he sings “Ready to Run” with a Sprintsteen-esque urgency and an Eddie Vedder quiver in his voice. The latter’s sonic also brings Gin Blossoms to mind.
Whereas “Ready to Run” revs up the rock & roll electric guitars, “A Letter Each Morning” finds Szlachetka singing over nothing more than a finger-picked guitar. It has the early morning feel of a gentle Nick Drake song. “Wildflowers on The Highway” is also acoustic, only it’s a strummed guitar and features female accompaniment and gentle strings.
Review by HENRY CARRIGAN
Our hearts burn with longing, and that longing sometimes tears us apart. We long to travel roads to new places—or familiar places we’ve visited that fuel certain memories—and at the same time we long to settle into the comfort and familiar certainty of home. The distance calls while proximity beckons; once we head out on the road, do we regret it suddenly and want to turn back immediately? What beauty do we miss on the road when we look behind us to the thresholds of our hometowns? Can we carry some of our homes with us wherever we go?
Sounds Like: A continental spin on 1970s California folk-rock, fronted by a songwriter whose guitar chops match his storytelling skills
For Fans of: Jackson Browne, Dawes, Gold-era Ryan Adams
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