Singer, songwriter and musician Evan Ballard suffered greatly from bipolar disorder in his youth, and was unable to focus long enough to get anything recorded or distributed. Now a husband and a father, Evan has released his 1o track album, simply entitled “Lo”. The album meanders through shades of rich, luscious and warm soundscapes filled with engaging organic instruments, where acoustic pianos and guitars flourish in heavenly arrangements. It renders an unusual blend of alternative folk, art-pop, ambient and soul flavors. The common denominator, and element which ultimately elevates this album to a higher level, is without doubt Evan Ballard’s striking celestial voice.
At once powerful, yet still vulnerable “Lo” showcases Evan Ballard’s eloquent songwriting: profound and poetic, emotional and soulful, articulating life’s most complex feelings in a way we can all understand. Evan’s careful balance of sincerity, his ability to direct and unfold his narratives, and his savvy approach to building mosaic melodies make his music intoxicating. To sound this comfortable, Evan has obviously crafted the exact right album, at the exact right juncture of his life.
A truly great songwriter who tells stories which totally engage the listener, Evan Ballard is definitely one of those artists that makes the music he wants to make, and which is really a cut above the rest of his class. From the moment the dazzling high register of his crystalline voice, erupts on the album opener, “Whole” ft. Lois Ballard, you will be completely hooked to this album, and especially to Evan’s voice. This is a talent who deserves a huge following.
Riding in upon the sweetly picked notes of an acoustic guitar Evan Ballard gently leads into “Home”, where he also forges an impressive falsetto. “Favorite Song” is an absolute standout, and also features a dominant acoustic guitar, which is surrounded by rich horn motifs and an expansive music arrangement. This track would not sound out of place on any mainstream radio right now. It has a faint REM-like aesthetic, which gives it a strong nostalgic magnetism.
The piano driven, “The Time it Takes”, is another highlight, which forges all of the soul and captivating timbre of Evan Ballard’s vocals. His high register is infallible and built entirely on the premise of exquisite gorgeousness.
All of which is confirmed and surpassed on the sublime and slow-burning beauty of “A Part of Me”. Evan’s layered harmonies wash over “Moths” which is driven by the steady piano, emotional strings and a thumping drum beat. It’s another affecting performance to add to the series.
This is followed by the wistful “Never Say Goodbye”, and the resonant piano power of “Another Song About Death” w. Josh Frigo, where the harmonies truly enchant. “Almost Over” traps you in its lilting melodic currents and its achingly affective narrative. Evan Ballard’s melodic sensibility is way above par, even when he is transitioning a fairly plaintive arrangement such as album closer, “To Say Goodnight”. His voice is clear, pure, floating above the storyline.
It might have taken a long time for Evan Ballard to finally launch his recording career, but “Lo” proves that it was well worth the wait. He is an extraordinary vocal talent and a superb songwriter. Whether or not he desires, or achieves, the success he deserves, matters not. What matters most, is that we are able to share the wonders of Evan Ballard talents.