Score: 4 out of 5 Grackles

Greg Vanderpool — “Sub Raton”


Greg Vanderpool — “Sub Raton”

Record Label: Self-released

Release Date: August 28, 2020

Photo by Martin do Nascimento/KUTX

As much as any singer-songwriter out there, Greg Vanderpool’s music places you squarely in a time and place. To me, it’s a West Texas back porch, watching a distant thunderstorm roll in. Vanderpool named one of his previous bands Monahans for a reason. Though he comes from Dallas’ Deep Ellum scene, Vanderpool and his longtime collaborators keep his music full of desolate atmosphere and wide-open space. Vanderpool wears his influences proudly — Neil Young, Townes — but his style is unmistakable: undisguised narratives, a quiet and keen melodic intuition, and a voice that creaks with a lonesome beauty. Years tick by between Vanderpool releases. His earliest work, with his band Milton Mapes, kept a certain guitar menace at bay. Sub Ratonhis first release since 2017’s Pilot, is his most restrained to date. In juxtaposition to our turbulent times, there’s a purposeful sense of slowing down and breathing in. His songs reveal romance and its wounded aftermath, and sound out desperation, a weary resignation, and ultimately a determination to keep going. “I’m counting the stars for you,” he sings, “And I’ll watch the night as long as it should linger.”

Support KUTX’s ability to bring you closer to the music. Donate today.

Review by Jeff McCord