Journey to Normal
Journey to Normal is a 'solo' album at it's most literal, featuring songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jack Pryor on guitar, bass, violin, piano, mandolin, accordion, tin whistle, drums, percussion, and vocals. The album's handcrafted grace and depth are testament to the 3 years spent recording and refining it, allowing the music to evolve and grow organically. The music is reminiscent of early Counting Crows prolific rock and ballads, with morsels of Americana along the lines of Cracker. Other suggested pairings include KT Tunstall, Gomez, Dave Matthews, Modest Mouse, Spoon, Old 97's, Pedro the Lion, and Toad the Wet Sprocket. Each song is gifted with thoughtful lyrics that are blatantly honest and emotionally raw in the style of great folk music. Many of them were conceived just as melodies that waited years for a sleepless night when the lyrics would finally spill onto the page. The album tells a story of growing up and all that comes with it, hitting on themes of coming of age, personal struggle, trials of marriage, and peace. Journey opens with the true story of a fiery car crash where no one survived, and having to reconcile whether or not they could have been saved from the flames. 'This Time I Would' speaks not of regret, but of seizing new opportunities while they're there. 'Even though I don't believe there was half a chance to do much good; Given the chance to break a window and just try to reach inside; Well you know, this time I would.' 'Little Pieces' embraces the excitement and uncertainty of leaving home after youth: 'All along I remember wishing I could fly; Now the time has come and still I wonder when my wings will arrive.' It is beautifully decorated with mandolin and violin interplay and piano-driven crescendos with the essence of roots rock, giving a chorus that is hauntingly addicting. 'Victory' delves into the darkness of a loved one recovering from abuse. It's both inspirational and eerie, giving strength to those who've lived it and a glimpse inside to those who have not. The song triumphantly walks the line between sweetness and strength as it intertwines the tenderness of a lover with the power of a battle. Journey is best experienced as a whole album, start-to-finish, as each song further opens up the story and the mind of the artist, drawing from the emotion of the song before it, ending with a refreshing exhale. Alas, there is no 'Normal,' nor do you ever get there, but the Journey is what makes life beautiful, terrifying, and worth living.