|Salim Nourallah — Somewhere South of Sane (Sep. 28, 2018)
Salim Nourallah — Somewhere South of Sane
• Dvaadvacet skvostných písníček od frekventovaného umělce, kterého najdete v PinJi N° 2/2019.
Born: May 3, 1967, Alton, Illinois, United States
Location: Dallas, Texas
Album release: Sept. 28, 2018
Record Label: Palo Santo Records
01. Boy in a Record Shop 3:44
02. Let Go of the Night 3:02
03. Relief 3:31
04. Rainbow Dolphins 3:40
05. Whiteheart 4:18
06. Moving Man 3:09
07. Going Through the Motions 3:40
08. A Thousand Ways to Miss You 3:43
09. Everything Under the Sun 3:31
10. A Betrayal 3:14
11. Tucumcari 3:21
12. Sweet as a Weed 3:25
13. Robot 4:15
14. The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants 2:39
15. I Missed My Own Life 4:39
16. Is This Where the Trouble Begins? 3:30
17. Chopping Block 3:42
18. Cold Cuddle 3:23
19. February 23 3:17
20. Life School 2:48
21. Sleepwalking 2:58
22. Tucumcari (Band Version) 3:22
About Salim Nourallah
¤ Based out of Dallas, Texas, Salim Nourallah is a songwriter and vocalist whose resumé ranges from quiet ballads to rave~up rock.
¤ Nourallah first came to the public’s attention in 2001 with the release of two very different albums — Nourallah Brothers, a collection of intelligent and atmospheric pop songs written and recorded with his brother Faris Nourallah, and Self~Improvement?, the uptempo power pop~styled debut from Salim’s other group, the Happiness Factor. In 2003, Salim also launched a solo career with the release of the EP A Way to Your Heart; a full~length solo project, Polaroid, followed in 2004. Nourallah released Beautiful Noise a year later in 2005 on the German indie label Tapete Records, which also issued Snowing in My Heart in 2007 and Constellation in 2009. Also in 2009, Nourallah recorded a fourth album for Tapete, Hit Parade, but the project wasn’t released until early in 2012. ~ Mark Deming
BY MIKE METTLER — SEPTEMBER 26, 2018
Pokud jde o dobré psaní písní, poctivost je opravdu nejlepší politikou. Je to hlavní princip, který poznamenal singer~songwritera, navíc producenta a muzikanta mnoha profesí. Salim Nourallah zná své vlastní jádro a je to ta tepna, kterou dokázal vtělit přímo dovnitř rozlehlého dvojalba „Somewhere South of Sane“.
“Life School” gets a pure A on The SoundBard rating meter. It’s a insightful, stripped~down, smoky/sultry reading on learning how to present yourself to the world.
Nourallah shares his thoughts about how the song came together. “I wrote a song a long time ago called ‘The Ones Who Hurt Us.’ It appeared on my first solo record, [2004’s] Polaroid. ‘Life School’ is basically working the same angle. The notion is that most of us are drawn to people who never quite give us what we want. In other words, I’ve often wondered if being bad and being unavailable pushes some buttons in the carnal department that can never get pushed by being nice and available. My father was not exactly the nicest of men, and yet my mother adored him. It seemed the worse he treated her, the more she longed to be loved by him.
One year, he forgot her birthday and ducked out to Kmart to get a last~minute gift. He returned with a Dolly Parton record and a box of cheap chocolates. My mother never liked country music or Dolly Parton. She was also on the Weight Watchers diet. I can still see her sobbing in the kitchen. Coolly distant was the opposite of my natural resting state, so I had some serious misgivings about my future on the dating roulette wheel. Some good old~school Hollywood brainwashing and dear old dad taught me that somehow being a male who felt stuff wasn’t cool. And then, later on, songwriters like John Lennon taught me it was cool. Yet another reason rock ’n’ roll became so appealing to me as a kid. I could turn a potential liability into an asset. The business world didn’t exactly need another accountant who was ‘in touch with his feelings.’ Right?”
The 21 heartfelt tracks that comprise the four~sided Somewhere South of Sane song cycle follow the arc of a man who knows he’s falling apart, yet he’s still able to emerge from the after~effects of his personal wreckage to see the light of what’s ahead. From the joyful innocence of “Boy in a Record Shop” to the gut~wrenching self~realization of the caterwauling “I Missed My Own Life,” to the dueling creative collision of the Beatlesque melodic/lyrical axis on display in “Tucumcari” and the intrinsically transitional nature of “Moving Man,” to the hopeful album~ending gleam of “You’re the Light,” Somewhere South of Sane finds Nourallah at the height of his creative powers.
And in the tradition of nakedly stark, confessional songwriters like the aforementioned John Lennon and Bob Dylan, Nourallah makes no bones about confronting his inner demons on South of Sane head~on, no holds barred. “For me, this record is about trying to survive the trauma of all that’s happened to me,” Nourallah admits. “I was living the dream of having a great family, a good marriage, and a good life. That was more important to me than ‘making it’ or becoming a pop star, but it all fell apart. Coping with that and starting another chapter in my life that I didn’t want to start is at the root of this record.”
Fueled by such distressing circumstances, Sane songs began coming to Nourallah in waves. “For the first time in my life, when I let the genie out of the jar — that was it. That was the recording,” he recounts. “It all started with me playing acoustic guitar and singing the songs, even if they weren’t finished. And if the lyrics didn’t seem right, I’d just sing something else instead of putting pen to paper or sitting in front of a computer screen. I have a really nice feeling of peace about how this record came out. None of the songs are bothering me — like, ‘Oh, I wished I had done this instead of that’ — and I think that’s because they were all recorded in the moment.”
The strife and personal pain Nourallah endured over the past few years all served to foster the bedrock for the absolute best record the artist felt he could make in the here and now. “I was only able to make a record like this because of what happened to me,” he acknowledges. “The other interesting thing that struck me while working on this record is that songs are just photographs of your feelings. There’s something to be said for singing a song, recording a song, and documenting it while you’re still in the moment of the feeling.”
Nourallah knows he has to pounce the moment inspiration strikes. “Songwriting has become kind of amusing to me, because it’s a waiting game,” he notes. “While you continue to observe things, feel things, and even jot down titles, it’s basically waiting for the moment where you enter this trance state of tuning into this distant radio station. There’s a song out there somewhere, and it’ll start coming through — but you can’t force it, or ‘demand’ that it happens. The results are great when you wait, especially when the right moment hits.”
While Nourallah boasts quite an impressive C.V. of production credits (Old 97’s, Rhett Miller, Buttercup, Smile Smile) alongside a rich solo catalog seven albums deep, the artist feels Somewhere South of Sane is the first true “record” he’s ever made. “In my head, I’ve been making records since I first started, but this is the first one I’ve made with the vinyl format in mind — and it really colored the way I did it,” Nourallah explains. “South of Sane would not have existed the way that it does as a CD. Now that we’ve circled back to vinyl, there’s just no room for lack of quality control or to lower the creative bar ever again. If you’re going to make a record, your sides all better be pretty good, and pretty consistent. And I thought a lot about sides here. For example, Side 4 is where things really get messed up,” he says with a chuckle, “and I really enjoyed using just one side as a platform for doing that. That completely had to do with making a record, and not making a CD.”
To coincide with the release of Sane, Nourallah is also issuing his fine 2005 sophomore solo effort, Beautiful Noise, on vinyl for the first time. “The way Beautiful Noise relates to Somewhere South of Sane is, Noise was written when I started this family and started this dream, and Somewhere was written as this dream was falling apart and morphed into something else,” he reveals. “They bookend each other, in a way. At the heart of Noise, I had just started my family, so all of the emotional things that were happening and all of the life changes going on at the time really blasted me to a completely different level as a writer. I became a much better writer than I’d ever been before, but it was only because of that life experience.”
Nourallah is grateful for the opportunity to continue following his muse. “I’ve been really lucky to have a lifetime doing this, and a life of doing exactly what I wanted to do,” he allows. “I’ve thought about all this for a long, long time, regardless of how it applies to me. For all of us, whether you have a family or not, the basic struggle to be present, and not always be engaged with that voice in your head and that stream of incessant thoughts, worries, anxieties, and concerns — that’s a big part of my trip on South of Sane as well.”
Ultimately, Nourallah wants Somewhere South of Sane to be relatable to its listeners on a number of levels. “I hope that people who have maybe been through some of the things I’ve been through get some sort of good feeling from it,” he concludes. “It’s already been a success because this music has helped me navigate through this three~ or four~year period of my life being completely turned upside~down. Everything that’s happened before now has brought me to this moment — and I want to truly be in this moment, without being distracted. It’s only when you let go of those distractions swimming around in your head that you can be present in the moment, and that’s really important to me.”
As one particularly legendary songwriter once put it, life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. And with the stirring depth that’s inherent all throughout Somewhere South of Sane, Salim Nourallah’s life has now catapulted his art into another, deeper, more personally fulfilling stratosphere — and our collective ears and hearts are all the better for it.
About the Author: Mike Mettler... Founder / Editor~In~Chief of SoundBard.com. Inveterate audiophile, chasing higher fidelity. Vinyl fanatic. HRA proponent. Disc hoarder. Surviving paradoxes daily.
|Salim Nourallah — Somewhere South of Sane (Sep. 28, 2018)