Brian Fallon’s freshly released third solo album, Local Honey, had to have been written and recorded prior to this period of physical distancing with much of the nation locked down in the forced intimacy of their homes. Yet, the eight songs here from Gaslight Anthem’s former lead vocalist/songwriter, are so local as to be set nicely within the four walls of his family’s home. “When You’re Ready,” the album’s opening track, is a lovesong to his young daughter, while she’s across the room coloring in her pajamas. Not unlike the closing song on Jason Isbell’s last record, “Something To Love,” Fallon doesn’t want his daughter to grow up because he doesn’t want her to leave, yet he hopes that she finds someone who “loves you half as much as me.”
Across the course of this album, Fallon writes thoughtful mid-tempo ballads that explore the deeper human connections in poetic lyrics that honor the fullness present in one’s intimate relationships. “21 Days” takes on the grief of losing someone, while “Lonely For You Only” finds the singer/songwriter alone on a rainy day longing for the return of a loved one. Dripping with religious symbolism and a desire to bring understanding to the “Hard Feelings” that come to everyone who’s living this life fully, loving one another and dealing with all the human mistakes we are prone to make. In the end, it’s love that matters, and Fallon’s heart is on his sleeve as he acknowledges that “You Have Stolen My Heart.”
Fallon’s musical palette is rich with ringing guitar tones, delicate keyboards and strings that fill out his simple melodies and gentle rhythms, but there’s not a lot of diversity here. Fallon keeps things close, quieter, mostly using ballads to carry these warm, intimate words, with crisp production values. But without a doubt, if you enjoy the opening track, you’ll appreciate the next seven, there’s a level of consistency that runs through Local Honey.
Key Tracks: “When You’re Ready” / “Horses” / “21 Days”
Artists With Similar Fire: James Taylor / Sufjan Stevens / Justin Townes Earle
– Reviewed by Brian Q. Newcomb