By Devin Morse
Nostalgic, passionate, and a little bit dreamy, Justin Roth strikes a balance between simple instrumental elements and complex musical composition. Now You Know presents ten songs of the singer-songwriter vein – everything from lighthearted, easygoing ditties to painful, personal dramas.
The album consists mostly of acoustic guitar and vocals. However, various instruments (flute, tambourine, etc.) add texture and complexity throughout. The first thing to grab the listener will surely be Justin Roth’s mastery of the acoustic guitar. The guy has some serious chops – an obvious talent rounded out nicely by the soaring quality of his voice.
The album’s titular track, “Now You Know,” is probably the most standout tune. It has a passionate quality – a dreamy nature that reminds one not of cloudy mornings, but rather, sun-drenched summer afternoons. Again, the singer-songwriter format is quite simple, but the chord choices and song structure add the complex subtleties.
“Spaghetti Junction” does Justin Roth’s guitar playing a little more justice. This instrumental piece features only an acoustic guitar, a few cymbals, and some clapping. Although the instruments are all perfectly on-point, strange chord choices and unconventional structure again show us that Justin Roth’s true value comes as a writer – in his unique choice of compositional elements.
This album overall is a varied, interesting listen. Justin Roth is a talent that the Fort Collins scene will surely be hearing more of in the future.