Videos by American Songwriter
Nashville by way of Minnesota singer/songwriter Espe must in fact feel safe enough to wander on his fifth full length album. Most of the tunes are as delicate as his soft spoken voice but every so often as on “Oh Yeah,” a song that seems self-referential about having to make money to support a new child, he kicks it up a few notches to break out into a rocking guitar solo and sing-along chorus.
But it’s not long before he’s back to singing—and whistling—on a light, spritely ditty about how everything is better when he’s together with his partner. The good vibes continue with expressing your feelings to those you love in “If You Love Somebody” and more positive sentiments in the somewhat sappy, puppy dog ballad “Lady Love” where his partner is… wait for it… the “wind in his sails.” Never one to cloak his easygoing lyrics in complex conceptual ideas, “Small Town Parade” is about exactly that.
A little of this goes a long way so the relative brevity of the 12 tracks in just over 35 minutes keeps the tunes compact. Espe and his acoustic guitar, along with barely-there backing, croons with a trembling voice about the simple joys and occasional frustrations of life with a relaxed often sentimental simplicity that’s casually charming without being cloying or overly syrupy. It’s music for rainy days and Mondays.