Trace Mountains – Lost in the Country

Trace Mountains’ Lost in the Country is full of endearing melodies that’s reminiscent of the perfect summer day. Singer-songwriter Dave Benton has crafted the perfect album to give us a sense of being lost in the beauty and wonder of nature. Every beat of the drum accompanies us to the journey, the warm acoustic guitar mimics the heat of the campfire. 

Lost in the Country is also a deeply personal record, filled with themes of self discovery and a search for meaning in life. Old memories whiz past us as these folk-inspired tunes take us on a trip through rolling mountains and dense forest trees, all the while thinking of the past and dreaming of a better future. Despite its glimpses into darkness and mystery, there’s a comforting feeling to each song, as if carried by a dreamy bed of sound.

The opening “Rock & Roll” balances its urgent drum beat with stellar guitar work and compelling songwriting. Benton unearths a stream of lyrics that recounts his doubts and fears in life. This creates a blend of tension and release that’s seemingly held together tightly from beginning to end.

“Dog country” narrates a chance encounter with a dog while out in the woods, noting on the interesting characters we find along the way. The leisurely rhythm is accompanied by the twang of a steel guitar, evoking a sense of adventure across an ever-changing landscape: “I’ve no choice but only to keep up walking / on my way to a different type of country”.

“Me and May” is a dreamy song that relishes the time spent with someone you love and looking forward to having more. The airy atmosphere adds charm to its melodies, which could melt the hardest of hearts. 

In the middle lies the title track, making it the centerpiece of the whole album. Here, Benton is at his most vulnerable, and the songwriting is at its best. The lyrics recall a slew of regrets and the lack of direction in a cold and dark place. He sings through his apathy: “I don’t hear nothing but silence now”, while the outro offers no end in sight : “And the song goes on and on”.

Another stand out is the closer “Turn to Blue” which is a short and sweet folk-country inspired tune. Despite it’s one minute runtime, it manages to leave a strong feeling of longing. A great sendoff to a wonderful album.

Lost in the Country balances grounded realism with escapism. It expresses the uncertainties of going through unfamiliar places, as well as appreciating the scenery on the way. The main constant however is the beauty of the experiences we find. Trace Mountains wraps it up perfectly in their sophomore album.

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