It’s pretty rare these days that you get to hear an honesty in music distilled so purely as it has been in the sounds of Drew Woolley. His latest EP Better Off Alive delves into inspiring depths of personal reflection that have become commonplace in Woolley’s deeply observational writing process.
Drew Woolley drifts between candescent atmospheres of world folk songlines, yet with a refined homely touch that is distinctly Australian in approach.
With two tracks in tribute to a particular person in mind, you get the feeling that Woolley is deeply moved and inspired by those around him. Anyone could write a song about someone they knew, but somehow Woolley does so in way that makes one feel like they’ve known that friend for an eternity. Perhaps we have Woolley’s highly conversational lyricism to thank for that, as he reminds us that with acoustic folk music, the audience and soundscape is a lot more distilled, giving us the chance to hear and intimately engage with the artist in a way that transcends your average commercial EP.
Such distinctively personal dialogue builds a bridge into a realm where Latin-style 12-string guitar arpeggiations meet a cool, finger-plucking ballad sound that embodies the atmosphere of the Australian bush. This is certainly apparent in tracks like Roads of Joy, featuring a distinctively native-sounding acoustic introduction which is nothing short of uplifting. All Good Things Must Come to an End, is another great example of how Woolley is able to use a simple but intense harmonica to transport one to a distant, serendipitous space. It’s as if you’ve been moved to an abandoned railyard with a tin roof shed that screams rural Australia in some vague but intensely personal way.
Woolley’s precision around the neck of a guitar is showcased across each song, taking advantage of his minimalist soundscape to embolden the movements of an acoustic guitar in ways you don’t often get the chance to appreciate in modern folk music.
Better Off Alive is the result of a journey into self-reflection which has brought to the surface both personal and accessible content from Woolley while demonstrating refined musicianship over the most complex of guitar sequences.
Stream Better Off Alive below: