Royce DeZorzi channels his memoirs through a dynamic composition of bluegrass and country-folk in what is a truly resplendent ode to his beloved ‘Denver’.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

An ardent ode to his city of residence, ‘Denver’ sees the accomplished guitarist, producer and composer engage in an instrumental album engulfed in sentiment and nostalgia – a captivating concept which beautifully adjourns this current chapter of his life. Channelling his memoirs through a dynamic composition of bluegrass and country-folk, DeZorzi’s minimalist approach captures the potency of each recollection, culminating in an abstract delineation of his intimate connection with the breath-taking, rocky terrains of the Mile High City.

Extending across a concise 40-minute project, DeZorzi’s acoustic soundscape evokes an intimate atmosphere throughout the tracklist, where his conservative, stripped back production prompts every emotion to swim to the surface. This is evident right from the opener, ‘One for John’, a track whose reflective tone is made to feel more authentic due to the resounding fret noise and static vinyl sound which closes the track. Similar intricacies are present on ‘Ayelen’, where the discreet sound of a dog’s bark can be heard within the mix, once again providing a natural, uncontrived sound to the album, allowing the instrumentals to fully resonate with the listener. While these elements may appear negligible, their presence throughout the album is integral for its authenticity, and helps elicit an atmosphere which resembles an instrumental soundtrack to a Campfire legend.

Stream ‘Denver’ by Royce DeZorzi on Spotify.

DeZorzi’s ability to paint the abstract landscape of each track is an incredibly unique talent, with his dynamic, yet reserved composition allowing certain tracks to be explored by the listener’s interpretation. These images are often prompted through the ambience dictated by his nuanced guitar work, instigating an interactive experience through which the listener is encouraged to become lost in their thoughts. This particularly applies to the album’s title track ‘Denver’, a warm and vibrant tune whose delicate melodies do a remarkable job of capturing the beauty which lies within the city’s graciously clear blue skies. As the track progressively develops into a more distorted, bluesy riff, the intensity proceeds to forge a bustling sound which superbly captures Denver’s thriving inner-city cultural scenes. Tracks such as the cryptic and amorphous ‘Angel’ rely a little heavier on the listener’s imagination, with its indistinct structuring resembling what feels like the soundtrack to a free-verse poem, where the spacious, nonformulaic atmosphere causes the track to feel like an exceptional piece of improvised composition.

DeZorzi’s calculated and astute production manages to extract every ounce of sentiment from each note, with his ability to bewray such a monumental scope of emotions showing just how versatile an acoustic guitar can be when in the hands of a capable musician. These qualities allow him to offer a comprehensive depiction of sorrow on tracks such as ‘My Eyes Won’t Stop Crying’, where the heavier, lethargic strumming seemingly resembles an individual carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. ‘She’s Walking Away’ is another track cut from the same cloth, where the despondent tone and muddier sound evoke a feeling of vulnerability, once again showing DeZorzi’s ability to instigate a sombre instrumental.

‘Iron Shackle’ is the latest single to be released off the album. Watch its official music video on YouTube.

Conversely, ‘Denver’ is equally as effective at conjuring feelings of exuberance. This is typically achieved through applying a more upbeat folk style, as demonstrated on ‘Country Girl’, whose vivacious guitar work infiltrates the track and radiates it with a glowing sense of felicity. A similar approach is taken on ‘Maybe Tomorrow Will Change Your Mind’, where the buoyant rhythm is this time combined with a sweet melody in order to evoke an overwhelming sense of optimism, which emanates from the bold, snappier sound of the guitar.

‘Denver’ exists as the unblemished soundtrack to Royce DeZorzi’s memoirs, and while undoubtedly a personal and intimate project, there exists a freedom within it, which encourages the listener to integrate their own memories into the soundwaves. Divulging a range of emotions, the proficient guitarist demonstrates just how diverse an acoustic album can sound. Soon to embark on a new chapter in Nashville, TN, we look forward to seeing what lies ahead for the adept musician.

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