By: Kelsa Ross
There is something to be said for an artist that can tap into true heartbreak, with all its little micro-feelings and emotional contradictions, and not seem like a trite, whining cheese-ball. There are all of these sensations: the questioning, the uncertainty, the appreciation, the memories, the hurt, the anger, and the love that ripple through a heart that has been broken. Expressing this roller derby of emotion in ways that are unique and true to the artist’s intention is an endlessly difficult task but Tallahassee-based guitarist/singer/songwriter Graham Snuggs cracked the code with his album Loved & Lost.
This body of work’s style is a unique amalgamation of some of the Americana/acoustic/pop folk genre’s best and brightest artists. Vocals would often resemble Bright Eyes’ Conner Oberst’s iconic desperate and stylistically scratchy, straining-with-pain vibe. Other times the hearty, full sound and tight, bold harmonies typical of Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons were evoked. The vocal mixing added a unique quality to the album as well, with Snuggs’ voice sounding far away in certain songs, as if he’s calling out to the one he lost. Other songs delivered a voice so crisp and clear, it was as if he was singing in the same room as you, to you.
The instrumentation was either simply and beautifully Snuggs’ vocals accompanied by a single acoustic guitar or piano, or a full band, with lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and drums. Gentle fingerpicking throughout the album brought to mind Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice. This was balanced by driving, full acoustic down strokes to accentuate climaxes and choruses. Occasionally, a classic folk/country twang (think Neil Young) would ring through, from either the lead guitar or the vocals.
This album reads like a love letter you would write to an ex that you don’t necessarily hate, but you DO want them to know how much their leaving screwed you up and you want to remind them of all the good times you both had that they’re missing out on now. Loved & Lost is a great listen for a long car ride with a lonely heart.
Links & Credits:
Tyler Denslow of KOTP Collective Recording & mixing
Everett Young Mastering
Graham Snuggs – lyrics / acoustic guitar / electric guitar / piano
Traylor Roberts – slide guitar / electric guitar / bass
Lindsey Langston – piano
Tyler Denslow – drums
Landon Gay – guest vocals on Quiet House