Joe Grass | Falcon’s Heart Review
by Bea Willis
Moncton-born Joe Grass, now residing in Montreal, has long been a staple in the city’s music scene. His unique fusion of blues, gospel, jazz, and traditional East Coast music has garnered him a reputation as an adept and versatile singer/songwriter. With the release of his latest album, Falcon’s Heart, Grass is serving up a sound that’s fresh and familiar while hued with his diverse influences.
The ten-track album, released under Simone Records, showcases Grass’s approach to deconstructing and reassembling old forms into something unexpected. It’s a vivid, opalescent journey where simple melodies transform into lush sonic environments colored by various instrumental accompaniments.
Grass’s approach to songwriting in Falcon’s Heart is steeped in simplicity—working with his father’s old guitar and striving for the unadorned directness reminiscent of John Prine. Yet, through the course of the album, it’s evident that the simplicity is deceptive, as each track is replete with intricate layers, rich textures, and unexpected elements.
Grass’s ability to repurpose his influences into a kaleidoscope of forms, much like an alchemist transforming lead into gold, has its reward for the astute listener. The eponymous track, “Falcon’s Heart,” is a perfect example of this, balancing country inflections with finger-picked guitar and avant-garde percussion that manage to create an intriguing dichotomy for the ears.
Other highlights include “Wormhole,” with its compelling contrast of pairing soft vocals and acoustic guitar with electronic sounds with an array of bellows. Finally, the poetic “E. Absolute” beautifully showcases Grass’s potential as a singer-songwriter with its deep, resounding vocals and well-crafted lyrics.
However, Grass’s work may not appeal to all—those seeking traditional tunes might be thrown by the avant-garde touches of electronic sounds and the dreamier melodies swimming in reverb. But for those open to a fresh, eclectic spin on singer/songwriter travel, Falcon’s Heart is worth exploring as Grass is an artist taking risks, pushing boundaries, and innovatively infusing his work with new and familiar sounds.
The album is engineered by Robert Heaney, mixed by Howie Beck, and mastered by Gavin Lurrsen; the album certainly owes its shimmering soundscapes to the meticulous work behind the scenes. Each song is thoughtfully crafted, carefully balancing the rustic charm of singer/songwriter music with Grass’s avant-garde influences.
Overall, Falcon’s Heart is a standout album in Grass’s discography, marking a significant evolution in his music. It’s an artistic exploration that sheds light on his growth as a songwriter and his ability to reimagine and revolutionize through his daring use of outside-the-box sounds.
Release Date: May 26, 2023
Label: Simone Records
About the author
With an unwavering passion for music that began at the tender age of five, I embarked on a journey of self-expression through the piano, later expanding my repertoire to the guitar and the art of singing. As a seasoned performer in cozy coffee shops and harmonious choir ensembles, I've immersed myself in the diverse tapestry of musical genres, seeking to uncover the intricate qualities that strike a chord within our souls.
Beyond my personal experiences, my journalistic pursuits have led me to explore the stories and inspirations behind the melodies we hold dear. As a music journalist, I aim to delve into the heart of each composition, shedding light on the creative minds that have shaped the soundscape of our lives.
In my downtime, you can find me serenading my loyal canine companion with heartfelt tunes on the guitar or indulging in retail therapy to enhance my ever-growing wardrobe. Songwriting holds a special place in my heart, and I yearn for the day when I can share my creative talents with the world. Until then, my passion for uncovering the emotional power within music continues to drive my insightful reviews and analyses, as I journey through the rich landscape of melodies that move us.