Southerly Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist

Southerly is Portland-based multi-instrumentalist Krist Krueger’s project of orch pop mixed with a kind of rootsy Americana. Like fellow Portland sons the late Elliott Smith and Eric Mathews, Krueger has a great knack for wearing his heart on his sleeve and pens self-confessional songs typically highlighted by simple melodies and a world of sounds, including lush horns, violins and some bouncy piano tunes, which are reminiscent of the kind Smith previously employed in some of his later work (circa Figure 8) or even what bands like the Decemberists are doing now. "Dreams That Make Men Free” is Krueger at his best, observing a particular subject, such as small-town America and the difficulties of youth, while musically adding a catchy chorus and smooth orchestration. Although there is nothing spectacular to distinguish the album, none of the songs overstay their welcome and fans of the above bands, as well as more modern-Americana like the National and Brendan Benson, may really enjoy this. (Greyday)