Folk, Americana, and alt-country are genres that tend to be very hit-or-miss for me. Traditionally known for storytelling and salt-of-the-earth essence, these genres have been coopted by the mainstream and “Nashvillified”. Certainly, a few gems still retain the certain level of earnest sentimentality and honesty I value. But man, it’s a process tracking them down.
At this point, you can probably guess where I’m going. David Huckfelt of The Pines has released his second LP, and it carries a lot of the same heart and soul seen on The Pines’ records. Huckfelt’s solo work is perhaps a bit less ethereal and ambient, with guitar and fiddle doing the melodic heavy lifting in lieu of a prominent piano presence. But Huckfelt’s songwriting is certainly not lacking on Room Enough, Time Enough.
The mood is midtempo, moody, utilitarian. Everything has its place. There are ornamental lines here and there, but the core is simple – voice, guitar, and minimalist drumming. It’s obvious this is a lyric-driven album, throwing around pensive ruminations and existential questions under a bed of carefully-picked guitar parts. The compositions conjure images of rural vistas, desert landscapes, laying by a lake under the stars.
While Huckfelt’s voice is certainly more than capable, David is joined by a cast of friends across this 55-minute adventure. These are not big-name artists by any stretch, but that cements the humanity of the album. These are regular people sharing life and a love for art. Each guest brings something different to the table, from traditional country to Native American elements. Room Enough, Time Enough is cross-cultural and cross-generational.
Huckfelt toys with a variety of sounds that expand upon the core alt-country concept: psych rock excursions, steel guitar ballads, and western anthems. It’s an album that feels classic and seasoned without carrying the baggage of artists who’ve come and gone.
With that said, there are moments that do feel a bit cheesy. Some of the lyrical sentiments feel forced or redundant. While the questions Huckfelt brings to the table are largely noteworthy, he dwells a bit too much on the abstract and uncertain at times. Perhaps my main gripe is a lack of a biographical narrative – this isn’t necessarily new for this type of music, this storytelling approach, but it does dampen the emotional impact at times. The latter half of the album seems to suffer from this the most.
Ultimately, this is still a refreshing release. It may not be quite as balanced or nuanced as The Pines’ work, but there’s quite an eclectic mix of sounds, stories, and sentiments here. If you’re looking for an expansive, moody approach to the country sound that hasn’t yet been warped by Nashville’s corporate tentacles, you’ll want to check this out.
Follow David Huckfelt on Facebook and Instagram. He is also looking to book house shows this year.