Track This: Austin Lucas' "Splinters"

Austin Lucas' "Splinters" is one of those songs that sends chills up my spine. Lucas' knowing vocals and his well-chosen lyrics anchor a song of uncompromising beauty and pain. The picking alone at the beginning is enough to nominate it for one of my favorite songs of last year. If I would have paid more attention to the record, it would have certainly made my top ten. I first encountered Lucas on the record that he did with Chuck Ragan, Bristle Ridge, a few years back. I lost track of him until romeosidvicious posted a review of his new record, Stay Reckless on one of my favorite blogs, Nine Bullets, which seems to be all too infrequently updated these days; it's a shame because they always turn me on to great records.

Lucas comes on like a bluegrass southern-fried version of Damien Jurado, crafting personal character studies in his songs. "Splinters" speaks to faith, romantic relationships, and the self-doubt that comes with living in this world. A tragic study of loss, Lucas sings, "Say it's a splinter and sap from evergreen /A bruise on your elbow, a little skin off your knee / But if it's only blood and a busted lip /  Just A crack in your perfect teeth / Tell me why does it hurt so bad / When you slam the door and leave." Lucas' vocals soar, working perfectly to tell such tales against an acoustic backdrop.

In "Splinters," he might be painting a semi-autobiographical tale, but like the best song-writers around, it feels universal. Most of us have been on the street corner of redemption and loss of faith in which we might make all too human mistakes that result in years of regret. Lucas captures this perfectly, mentioning a connection between Christian faith and a reckless relationship -- "She said Jesus was a carpenter, and you're a semi-known singer of songs / You feed the spirit, you'll house the soul / Honey, I'm just a wrecker of homes." In a few well chosen lyrics, he captures human doubt like few other song writers. Plus, the tune resonates; I'm having a hard time getting it out of my head.

Listen to a great live version here:

Buy it here:

Read the Nine Bullets Review here:

Track This is a recurring feature of Snobbin' that turns the music appreciation dial up and rips it off of your stereo. It attempts to introduce a new track, allow readers to rediscover an underappreciated track, or just serve as a forum to flat out discuss a track that falls into the ear candy category and should be listened to unabashedly for years to come. 


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