A few songwriters have figured out how to write exciting melodies whose notes follow in unexpected patterns to send shivers—visceral or intellectual—through the listener. Richard Strauss’ “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” (opening theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey) is a good example. Jimmy Webb, Leonard Cohen and Adele consistently write thrilling songs, and now and John Fullbright has joined those ranks.
I defy anyone to listen to my flat-out favorite cut, “When You’re Here,” more than once and not have it in your head for days. With only a couple of exceptions, Fullbright sings armed only with guitar and/or piano and minimal percussion on this deceptively simply-produced album, yet the songs merit attention, retention and space on most of our personal playlists. These well-crafted tunes of love and longing come from the adult point of view: Fullbright’s admitting his needs and his failings only makes the guy more appealing. “Until You Were Gone,” stands as a perfect example, as does “She Knows,” which begins “She knows a thing or two about me she didn’t learn in passing,” and then proceeds to give poignant examples, all set to those shifty chord changes which ensure that Fullbright’s song will scratch a niche for itself in our memories, and in our hearts.