Rian Greene,
Drown the Miller
(Post Oak, 2013)

On Drown the Miller, Nashville singer-songwriter Rian Greene engages in what might be called alt.country-pop. It's an approach that feels caught between commercial aspiration and artistic ambition, though I suspect that by the time the next album drops, it's the former that will emerge triumphant.

Meantime, the proximate inspiration seems to be the late Gram Parsons and the California country-rock of a few decades ago. Lyrically, however, those songs that those artists wrote and performed often strayed beyond the troubled-relationship themes that comprise Greene's entire focus.

If one can accept the limited space in which it operates, this is an enjoyable album of decently crafted songs suited to adult alternative radio. Its straightforward way of telling the stories -- almost entirely about a break-up -- evokes the half-guilty pleasures of smart, accomplished pop music.

At the same time Greene and Tyler Macy's production boasts a welcome country edge on occasion, especially in the (to me) standout cut, "Since You Said Goodbye," which sounds as if it ought to have been on the Byrds' classic 1968 release Sweetheart of the Rodeo. I would not be surprised if it is intended to be a homage.

music review by
Jerome Clark

6 July 2013

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