There are times when you find a new artist and you start to listen to their work and you're captivated. Everything feels put together in a way that directs you to the lyrics - not passive listening. It just feels natural. You listen through and you have to listen again because you want to soak up the experience again. It's a sensation that is elusive on so many occasions, but when it happens, you know it. While listening to through some recommended music on Spoitfy, I saw a name I was unfamiliar with and the song titled peaked my interest. "Kentucky" by Thomas Csorba. While it provided the initial introduction, it's his latest album, From the Foxhole that prompted this writing.
My appreciation for this album begins with this young man's age. You will listen to this album and find yourself in disbelief at his maturity and song writing. His voice reminds me of a seasoned Americana artist, not someone barely 21 years old. Csorba is not some lifelong student of music as you might expect. While growing up listening to legends such as Townes Van Zant, he learned the deeper side of music. Ultimately playing guitar and honing his songwriting craft came later. The emphasis quality musicians place on not only finding the right sound, but also choosing the lyrics are imperative to create that lasting impression. Exactly the impression that I was left with after playing through From the Foxhole.
This album is Thomas Csorba's heart and passion flowing from the tip of a pen, onto paper. There's an acknowledgment of having the special ability to sing and write music, but also the humbleness of knowing it's just his way of sharing his feelings and thoughts. One of the most personal things a soul can do is put their deepest feelings out to the world. It's a nerve racking experience that he addresses in both Life in the Foxhole and Blank Yellow Sheet - the latter referring to the very piece of paper his crafts his songs on.
Don't you know / that songs that I wrote / come from deep in me? The only thing I know / to deal with sorrow / is a pen and a blank yellow sheet.
There is a reference to the death of his sister from cancer, which is excruciatingly painful. The purposeful melancholy yet reflective arrangement of this song drives the power of this song home. It’s the outlet for Csorba to share his most intimate thoughts and feelings.
Songs like Leaving This City speak from the perspective of a man who served in the armed forces. His mature outlook on the realities of life and raising a family in today’s world separate him from many his age. The innocence in his children that will not last forever, and helping his daughters navigate the world is proving to be harder than actually being in combat. Speaking about the power of love and having it define your life is more important than anything else in life. It’s not what you have or necessarily do, but rather it’s raising a family and working to enjoy the relatively short time we have here on Earth.
Csorba also spends some time singing about love that is mostly one-sided. Friendly Fire is a plea to know know what the relationship even is anymore. Is it love or is it just a one-sided relationship, held together with duct tape? There’s no sense in pretending it’s a romantic relationship if it’s not reciprocated. The twangy tune Roses continues this subject of love with the unrelenting dedication that he shows towards his lover. He’ll pour out his heart and do everything he promised. References are made to the Parthenon and its incredible beauty and strength, but it’s then immediately torn to rubble as she turns her back to him.
The road to chasing our dreams is often one of focus and loneliness and The Harvest spends some reflective moments on this. Staying positive and continuing to be hungry for our success is what will keep us grounded. We can’t forget that all the fruits of our labor are not guaranteed to grow to be a huge harvest, but we won’t know unless we try. It’s the mindset of working towards life goals and not being short-sighted. As the wise say, life is not just about the destination - it’s about the journey. The learning from mistakes and channeling them into progress and new experiences. I also loved the flanged effect on the guitar on this track as well…very Jon Mayer-ish.
So here I am, completely knocked-off of my feet by this artist I had never heard before. From the Foxhole is a mature album touching on subjects that most people his age would quickly pass from writing about. They’d rather spend the time writing about chillin’ at the bar or some surface level topics. Thomas Csorba is someone I’d keep an eye for in the Americana circuit. PS, he’s opened for Rob Baird. Not too Shabby for a college kid with a crazy dream.
Just a Massachusetts guy supporting Texas and other independent country/Americana artists.
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