David LaMotte's sixth album, Corners, fills the void left by sentimental, synthesizer-laden Christian pop-rock and modern rock lyrics about shopping, leather pants, and next year's Infiniti model. An auditory travelogue, its 13 tracks were written in nine locations from Wyoming to France on LaMotte's extensive touring and traveling schedule.
Based in Black Mountain, North Carolina, LaMotte has worked as a musician since he graduated from college about 10 years ago. And with constant touring and recording, he's making a name for himself in roughly the same category as folk musicians Carrie Newcomer and David Wilcox.
This collection spans the distance of the corners of the sky, not only geographically, with songs set in Idaho, Paris, and Louisiana, but also in content. "Northbound" and "Dans La Louisiane" sound like journal entries from one of LaMotte's cross-country tours, while "Janey" and "After the Rain," narrate the fine lines between personal weakness and strength. "French Kiss" is LaMotte's alternative to Britney Spears' version of romance; it is simultaneously witty and romantic: "There's a look of cultivated boredom only teenagers and the French can do." "Deadline" sends the message "There's no time like the present/ There's no present like time"-multiple meditations on living an authentic life and the choices it takes to achieve this. The final instrumental track, "Shadows," spotlights LaMotte's skill as a guitarist.
Corners isn't the laid-back, comforting folk-rock album one might expect. Its strength lies in the details of LaMotte's songwriting and the accompanying acoustic guitar arrangements, skills reinforced in LaMotte's live performances. He never takes for granted his connection with the audience, just as he doesn't forget his relationship with listeners as he makes his albums. LaMotte's understanding of his subject matter converts most listeners into fans before the end of the album.
Elizabeth Newberry, a former Sojourners intern, is a free-lance writer living in Washington, D.C. For LaMotte's tour dates and album listings, visit www.davidlamotte.com.