James Caronna Master of Dark
James Caronna has become a master of dark, affecting Americana, as he struggles to come to terms with his split with religion and the social and familial alienation he suffered as a result.
Caronna has been creating music for over a decade now but has transitioned from inoffensive acoustic pop singer towards harder edged, socially and politically charged wordsmith, brought about by a loss of his faith. This loss of faith became all-consuming on his last EP, The Devil Made A Home, and whilst some of those bridges may be being rebuilt, those themes continue into his new album, Tell My Father. The title track finds Caronna asking someone, presumably the same God he struggled to believe in, to pass messages on to the family members from whom he had become estranged.
Tell My Father
“Tell my father that I’m sorry, that I no longer believe that god believes in me” he pleads. Caronna looks to build bridges with his family, singing “tell my mother if there’s any sweetness in me it’s because I saw her sweet” as he struggles with the darkness that has taken over his mind and life in recent years. Caronna tries to convince his brother that “it’s ok to show your scars somedays” and that doesn’t make you any less of a man. This provides an insight into the conservative, traditional lifestyle in which he was raised, whilst the last message is saved for his sister as he implores her to follow her passions and talents. “She just needs my arrogance and my bravery to make it work” and it feels like that conservative life his family live may be constraining her, with Caronna previously discussing the restraining effect he felt the church had on his work.
‘Tell My Father’ provides an intensely private insight into both the workings of the family as well as “their struggles. The chorus is lyrically stark, ”no one cut us a break, growing up poor in the south”, suggesting the power religion has in providing solace for people in difficult times.
Caronna delivers the track with a vulnerability and saddening acceptance. His vocals are soft, yet carry a power and passion which was once lacking in his work, drawing comparison with Dallas Green. Stripped down to his acoustic guitar for ‘Tell My Father’ he feels isolated and exposed. There is an immediacy and simplicity to his lyrics which carries the message so directly. Tell My Father is a bleak, deeply personal and thought provoking album and no track sets the tone more clearly than the title track.
Recorded at Red Tree Studio in Houston, ‘Tell My Father’ is out now and available to download here.