From “MUST LISTEN: 10 projects that deserve your play in January 2022”
By Matheus Izzo
Stuart Pearson is a musician and songwriter from Long Island, NY, who grew up mesmerized by music and a piano that his father owned as a young boy. Pearson formed an emotional bond with art and music almost instantly, and by the age of seven was already composing his own songs. For many years, his influences have ranged from Midwestern sounds to alternative rock and punk, from the Ramones to Television (from the classic "Marquee Moon", 1977) to the Velvet Underground.
Mojave (2021), his sixth studio album, sonically explores the roots of American music with strong influences from Johnny Cash, our eternal Man in Black, country and blues. Lyrically, Stuart joined forces with lyricist Hunter Lowry, in search of the best way to entertain the listener, portraying cases that reflect the history of his country. Defined by the songwriter himself as a portrait "in sepia tones of America's struggles with sin and redemption," the album addresses themes "about bad people in bad situations making bad decisions." Want better inspirations than these?!
The unhealthy mood of each composition creates a perfect atmosphere of anguish, fear, discovery, and absolution in the ten tracks that make up the work. The arid atmosphere penetrates the eardrum of the listener in the first notes of "Like A House With Broken Windows" and in the other songs that follow it, making the work the perfect soundtrack for a western featuring Clint Eastwood, or to the masterpiece portrayed in the games of the Red Dead Redemption series, by Rockstar Games.
"Down The Ravine", "Dragging The Lake (On The Day Of The Dead)" and "Dance Skeletons Dance" bet on the bass, the very raspy, macabre voice, and convey a darker theme, close to the supernatural. The artist manages elements that complement the gloomy atmosphere, while adding brass sounds (trombone/trumpet), harmonica, and ghostly choir voices, as on the excellent "You Never Really Know" or "Are They Digging Your Grave (Or Are They Digging Mine?)", which retain a rhythm section that includes several handclaps, in a way that seems to lead, direct, and drive the lyrical self towards the gallows itself.
"One Cut" detaches and sets itself apart from the others precisely because of Lowry's high-pitched voice, which stands in complete contrast to Pearson's predominant bass and midrange on the record, providing a sonic breather for the listener. "Tomorrow's Gonna Hunt You Down" features beautiful violin solos and stands out as another key composition in the work.
It is a fact that Stuart Pearson is that typical old school badass musician, who manages to create both ambiance and interesting stories, which hold our attention from the first moment. It is difficult to build an album as emblematic, consistent, and memorable as this one. Surely if Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs) was aware of the work that makes up Mojave, he would use his music to adapt and translate his stories into audiovisual format.