Rob Massard does things with music that would make the dyed-in-the-wool guardians of folk traditions all hot under the collar. He runs his rootsy sound through an almost progressive filter and cloaks his songs in indie cool and classical grace, adds both ambience and energy to the proceedings, and offers terrific musical alternatives. In short, he helps move forward a genre that has long been too happy to tread water.
Take a song like Don’t Cha Know; strings swoop and soar, guitars chime and charm and his soft vocals wander between lulling and lofty and the whole thing sounds like ELO taking a different generic career path. Slip Away adds just the merest hint of country to the proceedings, The Candidate is angelic, occasionally angular and slightly otherworldly and Rift Hills and Sugar Valleys is sparse and splendid.
If you want to know where folk music goes next, Ascension is a great signpost and vision of what’s to come.
ELEVATE WITH ROB MASSARD AND “SHINE YOUR SHINE”
ROB MASSARD LEADS US TO THE ‘ASCENSION’
Rob’s latest album, Ascension is a glorious affair, a collection of folk and roots music which goes beyond traditional remits for those genres and paves the way to a bright new future. At its heart is the single Shine Your Shine, a brilliant introduction and opening salvo to the album and his sound in general.
There is something cosmic and otherworldly running through it, from the shimmering and crystalline vocals (reminiscent of perhaps Jon Anderson of Yes and musical not altogether unconnected either) to the dexterous and hypnotic finger-picked guitar work to the classical grace of the stings which wash and wander through with poise and polish, the song seems to have it all.
Folk music has long been stuck in some traditional grooves, and whilst I would never besmirch its rich and rewarding past, I am much more excited to see where it goes next and it is artists such as Rob Massard who are showing us the way.
Okay Rob…I’m into it brother-man, you got me onboard.
While it’s fair to say that anything with a ‘Progressive’ label to it is always going to have one heck of a time trying to figure out what the ‘single’ could be from any album…I feel like “Shine Your Shine” came out strongly on behalf of Massard’s style, and reveals his inherent connection to all-things-music. There are some artists & bands out there in this world of ours where you can truly hear how sound flows right through them like it’s the air they breathe, and I’d wager a bet that Rob Massard is indeed, one of those people. He’s got a brand-new record out called Ascension, whereupon you’ll find this here Progressive-Folk song called “Shine Your Shine” – and I feel like many of you will dig this dude’s dream-laden vibes.
I know that I did! Right from the drop, the atmospheric aura and sweetened tones of the dulcimer had me engaged, and I felt like Rob’s voice was a perfect fit with the sentiment & sound he’s gently rockin’ with. As to whether or not it’s what people would typically regard as a ‘single’ – honestly, that’s probably much more up for debate and interpretive…to me, that doesn’t always equate to flashy and catchy hooks, but much more so, refers to sound, or an experience that’s memorable – and this is that. In fact, I’d go as far as to say it’s downright as daring as it is delicate & soul-soothing to listen to; it’s rare that you’d find a track seven-plus minutes long released as a single to begin with, let alone a track that’s as gentle on your speakers as this one here is. “Shine Your Shine” is a perfect example of how much things have changed in music in that regard; not every ‘single’ needs to beat us over the head for our attention, gain our approval, or keep us listening…what the world wants right now is real substance in what we listen to, genuine passion on display, and uniqueness to be experienced – once again, this song has all that. From the sparkling sounds at work up front, to the superbly warm glow of the keys in the background subtly giving this song a majestic vibe, to the smart way that Rob has sung this song by not over-singing it…”Shine Your Shine” feels like a measured experience where no details have been missed, and all things have been considered. My ears appreciate that kinda stuff…and hopefully yours do too.
If there is such a thing as progressive folk, and I can’t be the first to have used such a label, then Rob Massard definitely makes music of that ilk. And Thousand River Sun is all the proof you need, an album packed with acoustic vibes and deftly wrought, not to mention perfectly executed, folk songs. But it is also an album that takes that rootsy sound as a baseline and pushes through other styles and sounds, genres and creative outlooks to build something that is definitely folk…only more so…broader, higher, deeper in its exploration of the genre.
I Hang on Every Moment is a 12-minute opus blending delicate folk moves with chiming, hazy dream-pop vibes, I Let It Come to Me is floating and minimalist, backed up with distant banks of heavenly choirs, Onward (Yes) is a spiralling and shimmering instrumental, with the voice used as an instrument more than a form of direct communication and Illuminations of Day Break is the sight of the sun coming up to announce a new day transposed into the medium of music.
It’s a positive, hopeful and peaceful album, three things that the world is in short supply of these days.
There’s a lot that really makes sense about this track, and reveals its perfect harmony within. Deep down, I highly suspect that this all traces directly back to Rob’s connection with music and how different it is from your average everyday artist/band…Massard’s got the magic inside him, and we’re fortunate to be able to listen to that coming out on a song like “Shine Your Shine” – it’s authentic and it’s inspiring. Clearly he’d be every bit as aware of how a single like this would be swimming upstream or against the current of today’s world, so I don’t need to tell him that – it’s challenging to get music like this out there, no doubt, but on an artistic level, it’s extremely satisfying and rewarding to the nth degree. “Shine Your Shine” is one of those songs that, when you finish recording it, you really stand back, let it hit ya, and appreciate the fact that you made it…the kind of song that makes the world a better place for having it.
As much as I was already enjoying the beginning five minutes, I think it might have been the last two that really brought this one home for me. The use of strings, the vocalizations from Rob…I mean, this track is essentially flawless, and there’s not a thing I’d recommend him changing. Just because a song might have a harder time finding an audience doesn’t mean you should just scrap the whole thing, or even make the slightest changes to it to tweak those numeric results online…do what you do the sake of the art & the craft, and people will always eventually respond to sincerity, like you’ll find in Rob’s music. Maybe it happens overnight, maybe it doesn’t – that’s all six or one half-dozen of the other as far as I’m concerned…I hear a song like “Shine Your Shine” and all I’d recommend to an artist like Rob Massard is to stay the course he’s on, and let the magic of his mix of substance & sincerity take effect on us. It’s too beautiful to be ignored and sounds like an experience to genuinely behold
Rob Massard’s Latest Album ‘Ascension’ Presents Epic Progressive Folk Resonance
American singer-songwriter Rob Massard is spreading positive vibes across the world with heartwarming lyrical compositions from his new album, ‘Ascension’.
Renowned singer-songwriter Rob Massard is back with another collection of marvelous melodies named, ‘Ascension’ on major streaming platforms. The album has 10 intriguing melodic wonders featuring unique and never-heard-before rhythms. ‘Shine Your Shine’ from the collection offers a fusion of diverse resonances forming a symphony of acoustic brilliance. The progressive folk rhythms and a combination of unique musical stylings in every song from the album separate him from the others. The gifted artist showcases his creative artistry and thematic skills through picturesque storytelling and dynamic vocal performance in the tracks. The album manages to create a prominent place in the hearts of the listeners.
Hailing from Detroit, Michigan, the multi-faceted musician shares his own experiences through his deeply moving lyrical ballads, taking the audience on an unforgettable thematic journey. Tracks like ‘Fireside Stomp’, ‘Don’t Cha Know’, ‘Stars to Your Moon’, ‘Rift Hills and Sugar Valleys’, and more from the album, ‘Ascension’ exude incredible instrumental riffs along with his compelling singing. The heartfelt lyrics of the songs come to life with his soulful vocal presentation. Rob Massard also performs live in various places in the country. Listen to his music on Spotify and YouTube. Visit his website and follow him on Facebook for more updates.
Rob Massard is an extremely genuine artist who sings from the heart and speaks from the soul. Rob is a progressive folk singer/songwriter who will take the listener on one incredible journey with his latest release titled ‘Ascension’. Based in the Detroit, Michigan area, Rob Massard has his motor running in the right direction with ‘Ascension’.
The 10-track album, ‘Ascension’, kicks off with a quick burst of sound & energy on “The Awakening” that immediately hits you as soon as you hit play. The next song, “Shine Your Shine”, is a standout track due to all of the shining elements coming together nicely. On “Shine Your Shine”, the listener will hear an exotic sound that has a sort of mystique to it. The guitar playing and instrumentation instantly draws you in and Rob’s powerful vocals are the icing on the cake. “Shine Your Shine” will take you on an exciting adventure and will not disappoint by any means. Moving along, we head into “The Candidate” next where a pleasing melody can be heard to go along with engaging lyrics and a wonderful arrangement. Get ready to toast some musical marshmallows and do the “Fireside Stomp” around the campfire as you enjoy this excellent instrumental. Track five, “Don’t Cha Know”, provides an emotional tone to the listener along with a slowed-down rhythm that adds a somber touch overall. Moving along, we hear “Stars To Your Moon” next that is shining bright with a very expressive & commanding performance from Rob Massard. “Stars To Your Moon” is deep-rooted music that glows and will appeal to many listeners out there. Track seven, “Slip Away”, has a great harmony and showcases Rob as a sincere vocalist with such a pureness in his voice. On the following number, “Rift Hills And Sugar Valleys”, melodic chords offer a sense of mystique and wonder as the song rolls along. “Maybe I” has Rob Massard standing tall as a singer/songwriter and maybe this song has the perfect balance on all accounts. Rob Massard ends the album in hypnotic fashion with “To Live And Breathe Under Water” where Rob is making a BIG splash and inviting everyone to jump in!
Overall, I am very impressed with Rob Massard’s efforts on ‘Ascension’ as he truly did create original material that stands out. From a musical and artistic standpoint, Rob Massard is the real deal and proves it with his record ‘Ascension’. Extreme creativity, unique sound and clever songwriting are just a few of the qualities that can best describe Rob Massard and his latest work called ‘Ascension’.