It's a snowy morning here in Connecticut, and I have been listening to Andrew Biagiarelli all morning on repeat. His debut album, Vagabond, is set to be released on April 19th (check the release event page here) and I got to have an early listen to this true labor of love.
The warmth of this album nearly made me forget the bad weather outside, evoking images of summer, road-trips, star-gazing evenings, and long verbose conversations with a friend. Written over the years of backpacking and traveling through the country, the album as a whole puts you in the passenger seat of an adventure with the artist.
The first track, Heading West, is a sonic representation of the butterflies in your stomach the day before you set out on a trip. "I don't need anything, but I got to keep on moving / I got these 6 strings to keep me grooving / I got my sight set on freedom in the great outdoors and beyond / and I don't need anything to tie me down." The upbeat rhythm and lyrics make me want to pack a bag and drive into the sunset, windows down, orange skies and all.
Each of the other tracks feels like a stop in another city, a change in scenery and vegetation but still seen through the same lenses. El Centro Blues is a stop in the shade on a really hot day. Bandits on the Beltway is a late night drive by an unfamiliar place, when you are not sure what is going on but there is definitely a weird vibe about it. Moving to the Country reminds me of times you visit a new place and strangely feel right at home, as if you've been there before. Up To No Good comes when you're deep enough into a trip and start losing track of things - trouble ends up finding you and you actually enjoy it. Let Me Tell You hits you when you've been gone long enough that you start to miss the people you've left behind on your trail. "We should be rejoicing and overflowing with cheer, because we found each other and been together all these years."
My favorite track by far is Time, a reflection on the rough times lived, of love and loss, but with gratitude for the friends who have helped you through. Traveling alone is a tricky thing, and you are often vulnerable and dependent on friends and strangers. "When I was in a dark and lonely mood, you were a true friend of mine...but time hasn't been so kind, no it's taken some good friends of mine" This track plays almost visually as a recap of a long trip, the kind of song you'd use as soundtrack to a slideshow of images you took on the road. You have enjoyed the good, you have endured the bad, and all is coming to an end.
The closing track, Going Home, gracefully drives us back to where we began, back home. The excitement has worn off, the road has been traveled, and so much has been lived - it's time to drive home while thinking about what has passed, and what is yet to come. There is an inherent peace to this track, a relaxing pace, a slow drive through the back roads ending with the comfort that comes with the sight of a familiar place.
In the age of single releases, Andrew Biagiarelli has tapped into the art of making an album that is cohesive, where all the songs are different but fit together like tracks of a train. Bring it with you on your next road trip, or listen for inspiration to feed your wanderlust - with your eyes closed, allowing its images to show themselves to you.
If you want to listen to Vagabond, make sure to follow Andrew on Facebook for updates. The album will be released on all channels on April 19th.