Free and legal MP3: Joe Marson (soulful, w/ great restraint)

“Love You Safely” is an unexpected shot of pure soul music: deep, heartfelt, and effortlessly melodic.

Joe Marson

“Love You Safely” – Joe Marson

“Love You Safely” is an unexpected shot of pure soul music: deep, heartfelt, and beautifully crafted. This last bit is extremely important, at least to me. It’s one thing to set up a soulful groove and emote in a rich and convincing way, it’s another to do it while you happen to be singing a song that is itself rich and convincing.

The minimal but evocative introduction grabs attention immediately, with its muted, percussive guitar lick and terse, strategic organ fill. The verse begins before anything else kicks in, and Marson clearly doesn’t need much more than his voice to command the stage. (That the first word he sings is the name “Sara” sounds like a nice hat-tip to his blue-eyed soul progenitors, Daryl and John.) And yet he keeps the reins on his voice at nearly every moment, understanding how much more powerful understatement is than overstatement. Likewise the song’s accompaniment, which consistently dials itself back in the service of greater power and persuasion. And so the 10 or 12 seconds in the song where Marson cuts loose vocally (beginning around 2:50)—and still, probably, just a hint of what he might be capable of—is all the more moving and effective. Even the song’s title is a sort of understatement, breaking as it does the usual rule of deriving from a song’s most repeated phrase.

All the while the heart of “Love Your Safely” is its sturdy chorus, which unearths great power (not to mention a killer hook) in a simple, down-stepping melody. In music you don’t usually have to reinvent the wheel, you just have to take it for a good ride.

Born in San Diego, the itinerant Marson has ended up (where else?) in Brooklyn. “Love You Safely” is the first song made available from his EP Electric Soul Magic, due out in July. He has previously released one EP and one full-length album. Thanks to Largehearted Boy for the head’s up.

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