Scott Girouard is hard to miss, locally, whether playing in Clashes or little cover projects like Never Been to Kingston and Never Been to Nashville. Heck, I own two of his hand-built, reclaimed-wood tables.
But he’s never before released any of his own material, so the four-song wisp of a self-titled EP he put out recently carries some curiosity factor. Just like his furniture, it’s a spare and stripped-down affair, him and an acoustic guitar, and perhaps even less adorned than you might have expected.
Girouard is reserved through the first three songs, singer-songwriter fare, with a good mic on the guitar so that it rings out and just a touch of reverb on his vocals. He can sing, with vibrato here and there to add body, and generally staying just below a tenor.
And, in keeping with a self-deprecating style he’s cultivated, things are pretty down in the mouth. “Everybody says that they’re your friend,” he sings in the opening “Bluebird,” “How come they don’t stay till the very end?”
“Searching for a Light” is also pretty dire (“I’m on the road to nowhere / And it’s a steep and climbing hill”), but there’s hope: “You’ll never see the future, if you always look behind.” There are hints of Gregory Alan Isakov and Jason Molina and Girouard is an accomplished guitarist, which comes to light in the finishing instrumental, “Scenic Heights,” where he rides the bottom string for a drone and picks out harmonics like a contemporary John Fahey.
The whole thing’s over in about 13 minutes, like a brief glance at home life through parted curtains as you pass down the street. But you’re neighbors, so it isn’t embarrassing.
SCOTT GIROUARD | Released by Scott Girouard | scottgirouard.bandcamp.com