Last week I featured Noah Avery’s new album, “The Unnamed Road.” Noah is a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist out of Las Vegas, Nevada. That album is a genre-bending philosophical exploration of life through the lens of the artist’s ongoing battle with cancer. It is a beautiful and complex record, blending electronic and acoustic instrumentation through arrangements of Jazz, Psychedelia and Rock. The sound hints at everyone from Quincy Jones to Pink Floyd. You can read all about it here.
After that article was published, Noah asked me to give a listen to his 2018 album “A Lone Image.” The record is a fascinating precursory counterpoint to its successor. The two albums share themes in both structure and subject matter, but they are as different as they are the same. Noah explains them this way, “If the new album is Saturday night, then ‘A Lone Image’ is Sunday morning.”
“A Lone Image” was written and recorded when the artist was first diagnosed with cancer and began receiving treatment. Like “The Unnamed Road” the songs on “A Lone Image” flow together without pause. As a result, it feels less like a collection of songs and more like a single composition. As listeners, we move with the artist through his experiences and emotions as he copes with a new unwanted reality.
Although this album came at the beginning of Noah’s journey, it is a darker and more melancholy record than “The Unnamed Road.” You can feel the uncertainty on “A Lone Image.” He has more questions than answers here, whereas the later record was more resolute in its philosophy.
Musically, “A Lone Image” is the more organic record. Most of the tracks are built around acoustic guitar and/or piano, often as the only accompaniment to the singer. The are a number of exceptions however. For instance, “The Waiting Place” and “I’ll Speak” feature full band arrangements. Songs like “Broken” and “The King” hint at some of the electronic and industrial experimentation to come. In each case though, the sound returns to album’s quiet introspection.
On the final track, “Mirror” we hear the artist find his footing in his new reality. The song builds from a simple piano riff into a big emotional crescendo. As the sound expands Noah ruminates on the forever shifting meaning of being a man in this life. You won’t listen to it just once.
“A Lone Image” is an emotional and introspective record. Like Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” or Roger Waters’ “Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking,” it is a story best heard in its entirety. And it is a story that deserves to be told.
Listen on Spotify and follow the links below to connect with the artist.