Indiana-born Emily Masson eventually migrated to Telluride, Colorado where she lived for a quarter century. It’s there that she discovered her musical voice in full. She began writing for herself initially. It wasn’t long, however, before a chance encounter with Rob and Michele Jones of Jones for Sound studios and sound production opened a new chapter in her life. She started recording her material with some of the best available regional musicians. The collaborative process birthed her 2021 debut Twenty-First Century Mood and she continues reaping rewards with the release of her second album Lost at Home.
The eleven-song collection kicks off with its title track. Title cuts are often definitive statements for a respective release, often buried in the middle or near the end of an album, so you can hear starting things off like this as an assertive move. It reeks of confidence and, in this case, justifies itself. Her relaxed and sometimes quavering vocals have a reflective touch and address the song’s theme with appropriate sensitivity. It’s difficult to not hear this song divorced from the dislocation of pandemic lockdowns, but it’s never dogmatic. The tasteful and slightly breezy musical accompaniment is ideal for the track.
Levi Brown’s bass playing is one of the unquestioned musical highlights of this album. He enjoys one of his peak moments among many with his performance on “Spiraling Up, " which further diversifies an already nuanced song. It’s difficult to deny the autobiographical overtones of Masson’s lyrics, but she strikes an universal note listeners will appreciate. The gentle surge of the song, as well, will find many appreciative listeners. Guest guitarist AJ Fullerton makes essential contributions to “Life Begins Again” and the reflective mood of Masson’s songwriting continues to dominate the album’s demeanor. She has an impressive command of understated dynamics, as well, as illustrated by the song.
“Broken Shells” is a scintillating performance keyed by a sly melodic guitar hook and pulsing bass. The near-dour, definitely caustic, vocals are another highlight. It’s one of the album’s most compelling moments and conclusively breaks from the aforementioned reflective mood. Masson bares her teeth in full and bites hard enough to draw blood. The propulsive “Why Not Ask Why” gains extra push from Mike Beck’s drums and Tia Brown’s backing vocals pair well with Masson’s voice. Its up-tempo sweep makes it one of the album’s more energetic numbers.
“Watchu Du” is a delightful shift from the preceding tracks. Masson dives headfirst into country twang without any of the affectations lesser performers might have embraced. The musicians summon up impressive velocity with their performance. She closes Lost at Home with another rambunctious musical outing, “When We’re Eighty”, and the easygoing humor laced through the song is a memorable way to conclude the release. It’s often said that an album has something for everyone and, usually, it’s a cliché. In the case of Emily Masson’s Lost at Home, however, it fits the bill. She’s built on the success of her debut in worthy fashion and her stylistic dexterity is a welcome change from far more mundane releases.
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