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Music Review: Craig Marshall, After All – Popshifter (blog)
Current Faves, Music, Music Reviews / By Melissa Bratcher

Austin-based Craig Marshall strives to make music that is timeless and familiar. On his latest album, After All, he has achieved that in spades. With the help of his producer, Robert Harrison of Cotton Mather, Marshall dips in and out of genres easily, and handles each with great deftness.

Craig Marshall has a warm, endearing shaggy dog voice, the kind that grows on the listener. That likable voice, coupled with Marshall’s straightforward, honest lyrics, makes After All incredibly listenable and appealing.

Marshall is a versatile artist, as comfortable in the hushed lullaby of “It’ll Be Someday” as he is in the country-flavored numbers that pepper After All. The throwback sound of the title track is a delight, with its easy two-step rhythm and fine musicianship. Patterson Barrett’s dobro is a highlight, as is the piano sound, which is perfect for the genre. “The Only Sound” also has a honky tonk swing, plus smart harmonies to boot. The striving “Standing Still” is a twangy and upbeat ode to getting things done (and may be my new theme song).

After All isn’t all Americana, however. “Something On Your Mind” is a poppy, retro treasure with chiming Tom Petty-esque guitar, in addition to handclaps, harmonies, and a prodigious mandolin line. Paired with the vaguely psychedelic “Only Till The End Of Time,” the two songs are perfectly matched, the latter sounding like Joe Jackson fronting the Beatles. “I Can’t Begin To Know” feels like a college radio ballad, quiet and subdued as well as thoughtful. “In My Wild Dreams” begins in an appropriately hallucinatory manner, as a song about the restorative quality of dreaming should be, and has the most delightful drum sound, like muted cannons on a battlefield. Soft horns and a channel of dobro add texture and richness.

The songs on After All share a warmth and an enduring appeal. Craig Marshall has blended his influences and inspirations into an utterly enjoyable charmer of an album.

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