Charlie Pollard is a local folk musician from the Twin Cities, Minnesota. His album “Healing” will be released on December 15th. There’s a huge number of imitative solo folk acts out there at the moment, and upon a cursory glance, you may unfairly toss Pollard under that stereotyping bus. However, he’s far superior to the many copycats on the market right now, and his latest studio album, is really tremendous. Whilst in many respects conforming to the folk archetype, Pollards songwriting skill and grainy voice, elevates him above the pack. This record is a fabulous listen from start to finish, and at the core of it are some wonderfully woven lyrics.
Pollard writes a certain type of other-world into his songs. There’s the music that paints the distance and the depth. There’s the pacifying, straight-talking voice, and there are the words that add the detail, the flesh and the blood, paper and stone. In an era where songwriting pretension seems to have hit an all-time high, this Minnesota based musician offers a refreshing blast of philosophical yet understated lyrics.
This causes us to consider the belief that Charlie Pollard doesn’t feel the need to dress it up in fancy vocabulary or untidy syntax, simply allowing the words to sink in rather than forcing them upon the listener. Of course, what helps the communication of these brilliant lyrics is Pollard’s voice. It’s far-reaching, powerful, with a distinctive rasp which gels brilliantly with the organic instrument of his tracks.
The guitar which Pollard strums throughout comes through clearly, and the oblique use of some out of the ordinary instrumentation, as the electric guitar on “Disrespect The Banj”, or the fiddle on “River Runs”, is often a hallmark which contrasts any saccharine emotion. The mix on the album is spot on and allows Pollard to shine rather than overwhelm his songs.
What makes “Healing” so enjoyable is the facility of its composition and the simplicity of its execution, which somehow always retains a slice of arranging complexity – whether in the rhythms, vocals or music. This is particularly evident on eclectic back to back tracks, “Sleepless Nights”, “Every Time”, and “Strained”.
As a songwriter, Charlie Pollard is the quintessential modern-age troubadour, setting the scene with seemingly simple melodies and embellishing an organically lush sound with the addition of electric guitar lines, string work and an intimate vocal performance.
He makes this exceedingly well-constructed and executed treasure trove of songwriting sound easy. Ad he does this most convincingly, for my money, on “Game We Play”, “I Lost Myself” and “A Perfect Place for a Perfect Face”. There’s both a humbleness and a boldness about Pollard’s work; it’s familiar without being formulaic.
The intimacy of Charlie Pollard’s songwriting combined with a beautifully distinct voice makes “Healing” a more than hypnotic work, providing a perfect arc between style and substance. This album’s willingness to explore the genre beyond its foundation, proves that Pollard is not another acoustic-folk one trick pony.