Note: I’m going off topic to give some space to an artist I’ve been following for many years. This is his best work yet. I know there are a lot of music lovers among my readers, so check out the review and the album, and share with friends.
Nick Ippoliti is an independent-minded, songwriter/singer who delivers, in “Pillow: American Made,” a mix of personal reflections, good stories and social outrage. It is unfairly confining to pin him into a category but I will place him in Americana’s vast world of Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.
He speaks for the everyday person and looks at the government, big business and manufactured pop culture with a fearless ability to rip away the veneer with driving music and well-crafted words.
“American Blow Back Baby” confronts the paranoia in a post 9/11 world where:
“I heard our leaders yell/’We can’t see our enemy/We don’t know who to fear/So keep one eye on your back /And one eye on the trigger.’ In other words, don’t trust anyone, not even your friends. Thank you, Wall Street, Washington and corporate media.
In “No Matter The Consequence,” he contrasts new age consciousness of universal love with the grittiness of revolution, reminding us that the “our truth doesn’t flourish from left or right.” He goes on to say: “Set aflame our voice of anger/Incite our right to choose/Occupy this land we harvest/If we don’t, we’re bound to lose.”
He turns more reflective in songs like “Another Country Roadside” with Kali Rea, a slow, happy waltz in which the couple escape the bickering, angry world to recharge their unchanging love in the peace of nature. The lyrics are poetry: “Suntip those dirty toes/Up on the fire/Scream like a hawk/As the wind snakes your hair.”
The bouncy “Moon Scar Angel” is a tale of the writer’s life who does a dash of love and returns to the pursuit of the art, which is life fully lived, disappointments and all:
“Sunset, lift off/ Went for wine; she never came back/ The one that got away, Moon Scar Angel/If I had to do it again/ From the dirt rise up and grow/I wouldn’t change a thing/ Not an ounce of broken heart.”
The meditative “Evening Song” describes the life of an artist who records everything, knowing that it’s reflective spec of a divine matrix. Like William Blake, he knows that in the trivial is the profound:
“Some songs tell tales/ Of what I’ve lost/ Some songs sing/ Of what I’ve got/ But all melodies/ Like a breath drawn in/ Then released into the dusk/ Reminds me I’m alive.”
The arrangements are powerful but not overwhelming. Produced at The Spot Studios in Lakewood, CO, the emphasis is on the lyrics, pushed by a no-nonsense voice that is intent on ensuring you feel his sense fun, darkness, irony, happiness and anger.
In many respects, Ippolitti reminds me of Henry Miller, an under-appreciated visionary, anarchist writer who condemned governments, capitalism and the superficiality of 20th century life. At the same time he documented his loves and losses, friends and foes, joys and sufferings and went on his merry way, pursuing the next glorious, eternal moment.
Ippoliti — Mule Dixon – does the same thing in “Pillow: American Made.”
He writes and delivers with heart, brains and balls.
Listen to the songs here.