Sunday, July 1, 2018

Thomas Stajcer: “Will I Learn To Love Again?” (2018) CD Review

It’s good to know that excellent country albums are still be recorded and released. Thomas Stajcer’s Will I Learn To Love Again? gives me a renewed faith in the genre. These songs are emotionally engaging, well-written, and delivered with a voice that has both passion and experience. Really, Thomas Stajcer’s voice is a big part of the appeal of this disc. If you are a fan of those great classic country singers, you are going to absolutely love this album. It features all original material, written or co-written by Thomas Stajcer. And these songs have a lot of memorable lines, such as “When I hit the big time, it’ll be okay/Things will change in dramatic ways” from “Sad Cowboy” (lines that remind me a bit of Bob Dylan’s “When I Paint My Masterpiece”) and “The wildfires, the backdrop to our wreckage” from “Wildfires.” By the way, Thomas Stajcer is based in Halifax. I’ve never been there, but from all the great discs I’ve heard lately, I imagine the town must have one of the best music scenes in North America. I must make it a point to get there.

Thomas Stajcer kicks off the album with “Love Me Now (Or Never Again),” which includes a pretty intro that is almost separate from the song, as there is a brief pause after it. When the song kicks in, I am completely on board. It has a sweet, gorgeous vibe, partly because of the work on fiddle. This is a beautiful slow country number with some excellent lyrics, like “I want you, I need you right now/I know that’s not fair/And you may be right, I may be going nowhere” and “I know I’m not offering much, but I won’t take it back.” His voice is strong, yet still conveys heartache so well. “Love Me Now (Or Never Again)” is one of my favorite tracks, an excellent start to the album. It’s followed by “Salesman,” which has something of a classic vibe, especially in the vocals, but also the subject matter. “Could I earn you back/Do the work that it takes.”  I love that he’s all in, completely invested, you know? “I’ve been so lonely and dark/I should’ve begged you to stay.” There is also some wonderful work on guitar here.

Then “In The Long Run” moves at a good clip. It’s one of those country tunes that imitate a train, at least at moments, and is a lot of fun. It has a delightful, full sound, with some catchy work on guitar. Check out these lines: “I know that I’ve done you wrong, and I’ll do you wrong too/No, I’m not quite done with these self-inflicted blues.” “Any Other Road” is another fast-moving country song that has the feel of a train, a train that’s aimed right at you and then on out of town. “I’m coming for you through and through.” This is a seriously fun song, with a surprising turn partway through, leading to a cool jam. “I’ll get gone and any old road will do without you.”

“Will I Learn To Love Again?” is a slow country number about the possibility of moving on. “I didn’t know lovers like me could get so down/I didn’t know heartache could just hang around.” The album then concludes with a rocking number titled “How Long Could I Wait?” This one has a lot of energy, and features backing vocalists. By the way, this album is Thomas Stajcer’s debut full-length release. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more from him.

CD Track List
  1. Love Me Now (Or Never Again)
  2. Salesman
  3. In The Long Run
  4. Sad Cowboy
  5. Wildfires
  6. Any Old Road
  7. Me And Willie
  8. Will I Learn To Love Again?
  9. How Long Could I Wait? 
Will I Learn To Love Again? is scheduled to be released on July 6, 2018.

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