From: NY, United States
Genre: Rock, Indie Rock, Folk
Long before Robert Allen Zimmerman became Bob Dylan, traveling singers were crafting their backstories one song at a time across the bars and way stations of America. For many, inventing themselves was a necessary outgrowth of their songwriting -- if you’re going to be a storyteller, you better have your own mythology. Singer-songwriter Christian Lewis seems to understand this tradition completely on his new record under his NomadicAttic moniker. Across Pastourelle, Lewis becomes his own version of the idealized wanderer as he follows the dusky trails of Dylan, Waits, and Cohen before him.
While NomadicAttic may be based in Brooklyn, the landscapes and relationships scattered across Pastourelle are far-removed from concrete streets of the city or the grungy stages of New York clubs.
With “Californ,” Lewis sings about the West not as the web of freeway overpasses we all know it to be, but a mythic place of escape. Lewis just needs "a good run to California," and everything will be alright.
"Anywhere You're Not" contains a similar need to run (the title is pretty explicit), and it's a sentiment we can all relate to, even if we haven't spent "summers on the lam." Sometimes we need to get away, even if it's only metaphorically.
The stomping "No Blues" which plays like a jovial Tom Waits number, gives us the happier flip-side of a peripatetic life. Here's a guy who's just glad to be on the move: "Gotta be going somewhere / Dreams all take a track / but I'm highway homeless / Going nowhere fast" may sound like a bummer, but it quickly becomes a rallying cry for the road.
The album's title track takes its title from the French word for "shepherdess;" It doesn't refer to a literal flock, but rather to a heartbreak sung as a "rock 'n' roll lullaby." Crooning here, Lewis sounds more than a little like The Walkman's Hamilton Leithauser who deals in similar Americana tropes and sad-sack stories.
Over its run, Pastourelle becomes a place for NomadicAttic to add to those stories that have come before, while weaving in his own take on heartache and a life as an adventurer. These are tales that feel old as dirt, but that you can't help but want to hear told all over again.
—By Nathan Reese, Contributor International Tapes