Trust the Water
'Trust the Water' is the long-overdue debut CD from Nashville-based singer and songwriter Paul Nielsen. No one should be surprised that this, his first full-length independent release, is a highly listenable record replete with enduring melodies, compelling lyrics, great performances, and a production rich in nuance. As an accomplished and sought-after guitarist, sideman, and producer, Paul has earned a reputation onstage and in the studio for bringing a certain sophistication to any playing situation. He has written songs since the age of seven, and a lifetime of attention to the craft shows in the selections included here. They say love is purest emotion, so it is logical that with it's loss comes the most intense introspection and ultimately - at least for an artist - the most poignant outpouring. Paul Nielsen's 'outpouring' has taken the shape of this wonderfully crafted and beautifully performed volume of songs. There is an undercurrent (pun intended) that will give the listener the sense that Nielsen has endured that which everyone at some time in their life must endure - disappointment of the highest degree - but has emerged with a story or two to tell. These stories, for all of their dwelling on the darker side of human emotion, have decidedly hopeful linings, conveying a resolute sense of overcoming adversity and the promise of rebirth. 'I'll Be Forgiven' is a snapshot of self-examination, remorse and anger-turned-inward in the context of a chugging guitar-driven rocker. And listening to the atmospheric 'This is a Good Thing,' it's impossible not to identify with the protagonist as the hypnotic hand-drum groove propels through the muck of a co-dependent relationship that has collapsed under it's own weight. 'Miss You a Little Longer' begins with a delicate acoustic guitar refrain and builds to a crescendo as the listener is privy to an emotional soliloquy borne of a heart that refuses to move on. And 'Valerie' explores the restlessness that accompanies unrequited love against a backdrop of gorgeous polychordal textures. Of course, artists cannot live by pain alone, and 'Trust the Water' is not without a palate of brighter colors as well. The bouncy, whimsical 'Timing is Everything' launches the CD with an assertive guitar riff, testifying that good things do come to those with the wisdom to wait. 'One Year to the Day,' with it's layered guitars and soaring vocal harmonies reminiscent of Badfinger, captures that fledgling moment when a broken heart realizes it has turned a corner. And for a total change of pace, there's the hilarious 'Tastes Like Chicken' - comic relief complete with crunching noises and ukeleles! This is highly melodic, progressive folk-pop that betrays Paul's diverse primary influences, ranging from Jimmy Webb and Gordon Lightfoot to the Beatles and Sting. The prodigious electric guitar chops of co-producer Chip Martin and the muscular drumming of Rich Redmond figure prominently, and there are stellar contributions from a host of others, including Perry Barton, Tully Kennedy, Sam Levine, Tim Lorsch, Julie Burton, Perry Coleman, and Jo Anne Kurman.