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Review: Tom Brosseau completes trilogy inspired by memory

Posted September 13

Tom Brosseau, "North Dakota Impressions" (Crossbill)

Wheat fields, storm clouds, remote crossroads and family graveyard plots fill folk singer Tom Brosseau's songs, creating a landscape of loneliness. While that last word is never sung, it's often implied, but even so, "North Dakota Impressions" makes for good company.

Brosseau's latest album completes a trilogy inspired by memory, and although he's now based in Los Angeles, these songs focus on his native state. There's beauty in the details, whether they're grass clippings on the sidewalk or an old ballfield scoreboard. "No one is out," Brosseau notes.

He's mindful of the big picture, too. His vivid memories include faded love, making the tug of home and her complicated. There's also the gravel road not traveled, and Brosseau wrestles with embracing or erasing the past.

"My home is the abyss, and I know I won't be missed," he sings on "Fit to be Tied."

Sean Watkins produced the album and teams with Brosseau on arrangements that consist mostly of two guitars and chorus harmonies reminiscent of the Everly Brothers or Simon and Garfunkel. Brosseau's friendly, plaintive tenor is front and center while he shares songs that serve as a revelation: We are all North Dakotans.

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