Robert Lester Folsom: Autumn Lament (Album Review)

Reviewed by Harry Kaplan

Let’s have a big helping of 70s rock, courtesy of Robert Lester Folsom. Yes indeed, the Folsom cafe is open for business. I used to call this soft rock, but now this genre has a nice spiffy name, “yacht rock”. I love that moniker and I think it really describes this music extremely well. Lester’s vocals are absolutely perfect. He released his first album in 1976, 44 years ago. During that time he obviously learned a few things about singing and incorporating vocals with instruments.

I feel like Spring was slighted on this release. I mean, every other season is represented. You got Autumn Lament, Winter Warning, and Waiting For Summer, but no song about Spring. Oh well, I hope Spring’s feelings weren’t hurt too badly. Speaking of Winter Warning, this instrumental track is really powerful. Trust me, you don’t miss the words. There is a really nice little reference to “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaac. The transitions are handled masterfully by all the musicians.

And speaking of musicians, you have some of Jacksonville’s’ finest players on this album. Lester was on the acoustic and electric guitars; Legendary Roy Peak, the “mayor” of Jacksonville was on bass and co produced the album with Lester; Joey Kerr provided lead guitar and backing vocals; Darren Ronan was the man on the skins and percussion; Susan Touchton Boggs played piano, organ, and contributed to the backing vocals: and rounding out this “who’s who” of musicians is the man on the pedal steel or as it is sometimes called, the slip iron, Brian Homan.

This collection of music represents the ebbs and flows of a romantic relationship through the seasons. With songs like It’s Not You, Lies, Without You X 7, and See You Later – I’m Gone, Lester captured both the ups and downs of romance and the seasons are almost like pallet cleansers that wash all the bad away, once the new season is upon us. Yes, these are songs of heartbreak, but this is tempered with other songs on this collection that are a little more optimistic and upbeat.

There are some happy moments on Autumn Lament, it isn’t all sadness and sorrow. Hop Hop Hop Hop Hippity Hop and Dancing With Piano In The Rain are songs that have a bit more optimism. These songs are songs of inspiration and hope. Lester did a great job at balancing everything on this release, including the moods which are inter-dispersed through all of the songs. In other words, you don’t have four happy songs in a row or sad ones. The emotions are carefully handled and tempered with their opposites. If you are a fan of those 70s artists such as Michael Murphy, Christopher Cross, Gordon Lightfoot, et al., you will thoroughly enjoy this release.

Listen and buy Autumn Lament

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