No one ever said becoming a rockstar was easy, but to fully understand the scope of hardships that a touring musician has to go through in making their dreams come true, you really have to hear it directly from the source. Del Suelo has witnessed the trail of bodies along his own road to fame and in his new album The Musician’s Compass: A 12 Step Programme he shares with us his own unique perspectives on the hilarity and horror of life as a blue collar artist. The Musician’s Compass is a very self-aware exhibition in personal confessions and dreams, but it’s far more telling of the world it describes than the characters who live in it.
Del Suelo’s music has always been somewhat cinematic by design, but this album takes all of his most conceptual ideas and crushes them into a singular juggernaut meant to be consumed in small sips. A potent slice of irreverent optimism, “Second Encore,” “Caress of Steel Wheels” and of course “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?” all have the potential to be classic rock tunes 20 years from now mostly because of the way that they capture modern tonality with grandeur. This record is the first legitimate concept album for millennials to celebrate, and it lives up to the pedigree of its forerunners.
Much like the book that it’s based on (also written by Del Suelo), you can’t put this record don’t once you get started. I’ve personally not been able to cherry pick any of the tracks since first getting my copy of The Musician’s Compass, almost purely because their context within the LP adds to their dramatic prose so significantly. It wouldn’t be disrespectful to the artist to play these songs separately, but I feel like you’ve really got to hear them together to really appreciate their artistic gravity.
I would actually really like to hear a classical interpretation of this album. There’s so much detail put into each of the tracks that I feel like it could only be further expanded upon if there were more pieces added to the backing band. Acoustic renditions of songs like “Pack Rats” would be pretty sweet too; the main thing that I took away from the structure of these compositions wasn’t their spaciousness but more their template-like construction. You could do anything you wanted with these songs because they’ve got good bones – something that can’t be said for 90% of the current Billboard Top 100.
2018 really needed an epic album to make the recording year feel complete, and Del Suelo really pulled out all the stops in making sure he delivered the goods withThe Musician’s Compass: A 12 Step Programme. The only way that he could possibly eclipse the level of excitement that surrounded the release of this record would be to make a sequel to continue its story, and I’m sure the idea has probably crossed his mind more than once. Whatever he does next the world will be watching, and you can guarantee that I’ll be writing about it.
Keep up with Del Suelo HERE.
-review by Jodi Marxbury