Jam Graham and The Band Upstairs’ “Home To You”
As compelling as his acoustic guitars are—and that’s two tracks’ worth, the rhythm and the lead—, as lovely as his background vocalist sounds, and as poignant as the percussion is on this number, by far the best part of Graham and The Band Upstair’s opus, “Home To You”, is Graham’s voice.
Now granted, he’s got the thought-provoking lyrics, too. The man (also known as Graham Waldrop, who had the prescience to drop this single just the other day on this reviewer’s daddy’s birthday) is, after all, “drinking to unspool his mind”. At other points, there’s “rain soaking through his socks ‘cuz he’s got holes in his shoes”. Doesn’t matter. His voice is the main draw on this one. It’s highly expressive, predominantly deep, but with a quality for expressing high notes that’s undeniable and which adds to the sheer artistry of his singing.
It may be that his vocals are mixed slightly louder than the track itself. But it sounds right, captivates one’s attention, and has a fine, malted quality that’s aged just right over time. Now, it doesn’t hurt the situation that the guitar work on display (with one of those instruments attributed to Waldrop and the other credited to his mans Jeff Dei Dolori) is characterized by strokes that are both rich and powerful.
There’s a nimbleness to the playing here, so much so that it belies conventional rhythm. The only percussion is a quietly sounding kick deep in the background, keeping time as though it were simply an afterthought, the sole manipulations, such as they were, of Zach Strum. Plus Graham’s kinfolk, it does so appear, as in Alexa Waldrop, is hammering away at the bass with a modesty, and penchant for melding, that’s so smooth it almost goes unnoticed. And, we’ve got Veronica Roman on background vocals hitting high notes just on top of Graham’s, a scrumptious counterpoint to the depth of his own vocal stylings.
But this is the blues or, quite possibly, that variation of it known as folksy, particularly with the almost wayward tale woven about a protagonist who somehow manages to wend his way homeward at the conclusion of the tune.
And it all works well, especially when Grahm’s singing, as he is for the better part of this over four-minute affair.