Rob Massard’s soothing voice and poetic songs captivate. In the moving album, Northern Lights, this Michigan rocker’s penchant for intricate guitar riffs and swaying rhythms couldn’t come at more important time. Northern Lights inspires and connects us to nature, but more importantly, these seven-tracks connect our souls as human beings.
The title track, also the opening song, is quite extensive. It’s a 13-minute saga. The acoustic guitar in the opening measures sets forth much like the sound of ice melting, the streams of water finding every crack and stone to smoothly gloss over. Spring has sprung! Massard uses a “you got” as his anaphora. Examples include “you got to take things through in all you do”, “you got to take a break, you got to shake your shake,” “you got to lend a hand to your fellow man”. He also repeats “don’t need no tweets, no Instagram”, “don’t need no login to accept a friend”. This idea of friendship really caught my ear – logging on the computer and finding friend has changed so much in the past five or so years. While some people truly do have friendships solely online, others have found social media friendships fake or surface relationships. Massard’s voice is not petty or patronizing. Quite the opposite- Massard is kind and yearning for a better connection with people listening to his words. Head my words, he seems to sing.
Light seems to unfold like falling leaves in the gorgeous “We See Things”. There’s a lovely dance, a weaving of the acoustic guitar and violin happening. Massard’s harmonizing of the chorus “we see things” is amplified by the violin plume. This is truly a beautiful song.
“Man To Man” and “It’s So Hard To Find” both have their own unique brightness. While Massard has his go-to range, his vocals stay in his comfort zone, but because of his prose and the intricate guitar layering, these songs continue to give the listener a reason to let go. He allows the listener to sojourn in his world, the vocals and the music bed create an aura, a world of limitless imagination.
His organic sound continues with “Running Through Me” and “Sailing Mackinac”. Near the top of Michigan, the Mackinac Islands inspires the listener to dream of clean shores, fresh air and lazy summer days. In Massard’s moving piece, the violin sounds a bit deeper, the strings linger just a little longer. When he harmonizes ‘oh, oh, dip, dip, dip’ it’s almost like angels singing. It’s therapeutic and romanticized.
Finally, “The Best Is Yet To Come” opens with a stirring almost hymnal vocal prowess. His acoustic guitar enters the scene and he sings goldenly “where I can see where I want to be”. Much like a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, the song bridge gathers up some steam, some momentum and he repeats ‘the best is yet to come, the best is yet to come.” I loved how the vibe shifted and there was contained percussion and cymbals. Another wildly emotional and passionate song.
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