Music Review: Rocky Votolato's “True Devotion”

2/28/2010 Posted by Admin

Music Review

Rocky Votolato's “True Devotion”

By our guest blogger, Megan O'Malley

Rocky Votolato is a soft-voiced troubadour. While he is less rocking than Sufjan Stevens and not as bizarre as Devendra Banhart, Votolato brings a sweet sound to his albums that convey intimacy and tenderness. His latest studio album, “True Devotion,” brings a melancholy feel that is perfect for a rainy day.

As a singer-songwriter for the Seattle area, Votolato has a pretty good understanding of gloomy days. He pulls from around him and puts that relaxed Northwest attitude into his music. His songs are both soft and romantic--they tell stories that the listeners are striving to hear and can actually relate to. It’s a relatively quick album to listen to as it clocks in at just over 30 minutes for the entire 10-track album. Occasionally, the soft-sounding melodies of “True Devotion” start to blend into each other, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad album. Between his vocal styling and the minimal instrumentation, listeners get the impression that he is singing just for them.

The stand out hit of “True Devotion” has to be “Red River.” The lovelorn feel is relatable to anyone who listens. “Instrument” is very sweet and sentimental, classic Votolato. “Don’t Be Angry” has a nice opening crescendo that really brings listeners into the song. There is a nice finality to the last song “Where We Started.” It really shows that the producers thought about how the album should be put together. Although it’s a quick album, there is no shortage of deep-felt emotionalism. Votolato puts his heart and soul into his music and on “True Devotion,” the listener feels it as much as he does.

In the world of singer-songwriters, it can be hard to find a sound that will make people want to listen. Although Rocky Votolato doesn’t tread on any new territory, he does emotional music in way that’s relatable. He’s not angst ridden or overly sappy like "Dashboard Confessional."  Instead, Votolato makes music for real people.

“True Devotion” is a gloomy album for grown-ups.

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