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.
Lyrically, Szlachetka is a little vague, which once again makes one think about that Gin Blossoms comparison. “Algebra,” for instance, utilizes the math analogy, although it doesn’t always add up exactly that way. Nevertheless, Szlachetka’s message is crystal clear with “Wildflowers on The Highway,” as it reminds us to look for beauty, which is always there among all the ugliness of life. It’s also easy to hear why the song’s video is receiving some play on CMT.
Heart of my Hometown is an album that holds appeal for lovers of good, honest rootsy music. So, while it may be a little left of center for mainstream enthusiasts, if you love Jason Isbell, Sturgell Simpson and their ilk, this one’s right up your alley.