Ethan Jano is a young folk singer originally from Pennsylvania bringing together a collection of 12 tracks to be released in album form in February. There is an interesting mix of simplicity in the instrumentation with complexity in the vocal delivery and in the lyrics that lovers of the genre would appreciate. Dashes of rhythm and blues, and even some short, rock-inspired guitar-driven sections further flavour his debut album, I’ll Be Fine, where one can hear the influence of the Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Bob Dylan songs his father and uncle would play on their family guitar.
The album opens with “I’ll Be Fine”, an uplifting, anthemic song with sing-along quality. One can easily imagine this song become a campfire favourite, quite easily as well, as it is a short – a little under two minutes – song featuring only an acoustic guitar and Jano’s vocals.
The tempo is taken down a couple of notches with “On the Way Back Down”, a soothing song featuring for the most part only acoustic guitars and vocals. This simplicity brings attention to the construction of the melody which in turn makes the vocals all the more poignant. The melancholy in “Faithful Son” seems at par with the title and lyrics in this slow track.
Jano kicks things into higher gear with the upbeat “How It Should Be”, a call for optimism. The same high beat carries the next track, “I Don’t Care”, while the gently defiant “I Won’t Go” slows it down somewhat. The drums that kick in near the middle of the track add that little chin-up quality one might attribute to those gently but firmly defiant ones among us.
The sweet-sounding “All I Need Is You” opens the second half of the 12-track album and welcomes the addition of a banjo, refreshing the now familiar sounds of I’ll Be Fine. The gentle melody supports the emotion-heavy vocals of “It Still Remains” that share the story of lingering pain following traumatic life events. But Jano quickly picks things up with the high tempo and somewhat quirky “No Idea”.
The last three tracks of the album bring together some of its best elements, from the guitar opening in “The Perfect Space” to the emotion-laden vocals in the penultimate “The Burn”, and the joy in the closing “Wildfire”.
If he continues like this, I’ll Be Fine might mark the beginning of a successful career in making inspiring folk music for Jano. More information about the artist can be found on his official website where some of his tracks can be streamed.
Pictures provided by Working Brilliantly and Jano’s official website.
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