Devon Jackson is a freelance music journalist who writes for publications such as Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly. He just completed a review of my piece "Unafraid" from the Fort Lonesome album which I released last year. Thought I'd share it:
“Sophisticated piano composition that’s poignant and refrains from the obvious”
What starts off as something melancholy soon turns into something more interesting and varied. This is not the usual piano piece—there’s nothing familiar about it. Even at those moments when you think it’s going to go down that well-worn path (from the darkness to the light, from a place of searching to a destination with which we’re comfortable, or even to add a touch of coloratura or cutesiness in order to provide us some sense of relief), Mongelli, who composed this song, holds off. Instead, the song becomes increasingly muscular. The power builds as he continues to avoid the clichéd moment or the romanticized touch. And so the song moves from a muscularity to something more self-confident, bolder, more self-assured and daring. But not daring in a show-offy way. Mongelli’s self-assuredness comes from a sense of honesty and trueness to himself and his purpose—and his skills. He’s forthright and unafraid here, and expressing himself and his musicality in a way that almost doesn’t care who’s listening or what other people may hope to get out of this song—or out of a piano piece. Mongelli’s work here flows extremely well. It has great movement and it never doubts its direction. Mongelli knows where he’s going. And the song ends well, too. It returns to its opening statement but not outrightly, subtly. The music began at point A and ended not back at point A but somewhere that’s almost a shadow of how and where it opened. Almost as if there were something learned here. And not learned via some corny journey, but through some emotional process. Very impressive.
- Devon Jackson