By Jordan Lofgren
Coming into the territory of a new artist can be worrisome since you have no idea what to
expect. So as for Karl Hepler, I set my expectations to the bare minimum before putting the headphones into my ears. You can’t be disappointed if you don’t expect much, right?
The album begins with the title track, “Always Home,” a good opener that got me ready for the next tracks to come. As soon as the next song, “Letters to the Sea,” came on with its violins, I immediately loved the song. The lyrics are about a soldier that tosses letters into the sea in hopes that they will reach a girl. The song is high on metaphors, which I would notice are used a lot in his songs. The fourth track on the album is probably one of the better songs because of the infectious chorus and backing vocals. It is a fun song which I thought was a metaphor for life and death.
If we skim through the next couple of tracks, we get through to the eighth track called “Troubled.” This is the first song that I noticed had a slower sound compared to the tracks before. That was one gripe I had with the album in general. I can appreciate the guitar playing and the speed at which it was played, but Karl seems to overdo it in some of the tracks.
“Sail Away” stood out to me not so much for the song itself, but for the fact that Karl’s father, Doug, sings the main vocal part with Karl backing him up. His voice has that sort of raspy tone to it that I could enjoy. The best song on the album comes when we skip ahead two songs is “The Wexford Massacre.” The song is a slow song with great lyrics about a massacre (obviously) that happened and the injustice seen from it. The killings outnumbered 300 and the slow tone set the mood perfectly for what was being talked about. As the song continues, it gradually grows in the number of voices backing up Karl’s singing. What better way to have a song talking about hundreds of people than to have the feel of a bunch of people singing?
Overall, the album is enjoyable to listen to. I will be listening to it again, but I hope for his next album he will have more than two slower songs. I also noticed that his father backs his vocals up in every song. I would like to hear even more of that because you can actually hear the chemistry in their voices. I think if you enjoy acoustic music and folk, I would give this one a listen. I look forward to his next album and I hope that it could be as good as the best songs on this one.