It’s been said that music is a reflection of interior monologues and self-identity for those artists who feel the need and want to share the personal details of their lives with the outside world. And you can find plenty of evidence for this particular line of thought living within the music of Lake Preston, a musician whose work straddles the line between pop, rock and folk with an uncommon ease. His songs shuffle and sway, the product of an expansive set of influences and experiences.
There’s a simplicity of purpose at the heart of his music, even when the lyrics are cloaked in intense emotional themes and potent memories. He doesn’t let the arrangements burden his perspective but simply allows the music to guide the direction of his thoughts. Preston possesses the unique ability to make the common sound miraculous and do it with the bare minimum of distractions. The music is simply there to reveal insight into personal and universal truths as they relate to him and those around him.
On his debut record, “Violet York,” he paints a fascinating and persuasive portrait of an artist in motion, with his inspirations bubbling up from some inner reservoir to dictate the speed and ferocity of each song. He captures bits of Americana, piano pop and indie rock across this album and lays them out side by side, parallel tracks that lead us into the heart of his inclusive creativity. He’s not shy about embracing his influences—especially in that Lou Reed-ish voice of his—and he proudly carries that mantle as a way to connect his songs to those which have had such a profound effect on his musical upbringing.
Songs like “Tell Me How You’re Falling In Love” and “Ever Since I Saw Your Smile” bridge the gap between alt-country rustic revelations and indie rock’s determined rhythmic stride. Others like “A Touch of Thinking” and “1932 Overture” feel almost orchestral in their theatricality and are driven by Preston’s clear and concise rhythmic instincts, which should come as no surprise given that he wrote, recorded and produced all the songs on “Violet York” himself (not to mention that he played all the instruments). A true auteur project, this album is a welcome addition to the noise rising from the Tennessee Valley.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.