There's something extraordinary about Pete Ahonen's debut album In the Blood. Musically, lyrically and vocally fascinating, the album moves through nine original songs with riveting purpose; offering sepia-toned glimpses into Ahonen's songwriting soul. This is how to make an album people. Peer into the darkest corners of life. Take notes. Then document the experience with sparse earthen tones and dark lines.
The songs on In the Blood are torn from the pages of the human condition as Ahonen see them. They have titles like "Hades Mines", "Firing Squad", "Booze Fighters", "Alive" and "Shape of a Woman." These stories are steeped in contrast. Contrasts between good and evil, love and lust, struggling with personal demons and looking ahead of them. They float on dark clouds of upright bass, blues stained guitars and occasional fills of Ahonen's banjo. His voice pitches and strains as he guides the listener through the dark complexities of life.
The gem on this album is the track "Shape of a Woman" which finds Ahonen trying find love and identity in a metaphor.
"...it's a dirty old street in a familiar town.
The devil, she's dressed up and dancin' around.
You know what you need man, and it's nowhere to be found.
You're looking for the shape of a woman."
There are several stand-out tracks on In the Blood, in particular, the dirge-like "The Ballad of John Crookshanks," which emerges musically from a dark delta swamp with a haunting bassline courtesy of bassist Andrew Gibson and blues filled acoustic guitar from Ahonen. The song tells the tale of moonshiner John Crookshanks. The vocal harmonies hover like a dense fog over creeping trees in the moonlight as the feds and their dogs are drawing near.
In the Blood is a terrific debut for the Oakland, CA based Pete Ahonen and for Lost Monkey Records, a small label from Heyward, CA. He's one to check out now and keep a close eye on for the future.
CLICK HERE FOR A FREE MP3 OF 'SHAPE OF A WOMAN' FROM PETE AHONEN
Listen to tracks from In The Blood: