Album Review: Ronnie Fauss – I Am the Man You Know I’m Not

I Am the Man You Know I'm Not coverThere’s a sadness undergirding Dallas songslinger Ronnie Fauss’ first full-length album, but it’s not expressed in ways that are dour or maudlin. No, it’s more a sense of lived hardship sharpening perception, a sensitivity to the struggles and frustrations of everyday existence. An empathy for his fellow travelers, maybe. Mixing country and folk with the occasional big heartland rock riff, Fauss proves a remarkably astute chronicler of life’s seasons and cycles. Take the kicking “A Pretty Nice Night for Houston,” which sees past personal hurt to dig up a universal thread: “And ain’t it funny how we start off so young / We’re sweet and pure and good / But then 30 years later we’ve had our fun / Betraying everyone we could.” Or the soul-searching “Answers You Already Know,” where he offers: “Children are nothing but grown-ups / Who have not had their hearts broken yet.” Even as he shows tendencies toward the philosophic, Fauss retains a wry sense of humor: “Pistols in the Air” includes “a dentist in Tennessee” alongside an SUV-driving Democrat in its list of oxymorons. At his best, Fauss combines uncommon wit and insight with tunes and performances so strikingly immediate that they hardly require the competitive edge. When he hits that mark, it’s a true synergistic slam dunk. Count on having “This Year” and “The Last” stuck in your head indefinitely.

Recommended if you like: Todd Snider, Kasey Anderson, John Prine

Grade (Pass/Fail only): PASS

Preview or purchase I Am the Man You Know I’m Not on Amazon

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About C.M. Wilcox

A freelance writer and humorist with an abiding love of country music, C.M. Wilcox's cutting, clear-eyed take on the genre has drawn the attention of Country Weekly, The Washington Post, and The Tennessean in the years since this site began. C.M. lives near Sacramento and can be reached by email at CMW (at) countrycalifornia.com.

Things People Are Saying

  1. AlanDP says:

    Yeah, I second that. I downloaded a free sampler of his that I think was from his website, or possibly Noisetrade, I don’t remember, and it’s great. My favorite song from it is “Tia Maria.” I’m going to get this one.

  2. C.M. Wilcox says:

    Looks like the NoiseTrade sampler is still available if anyone wants to whet the appetite. Includes some EP favorites like “To Ease My Mind,” “Driving Through Memphis,” and “It’s a Long Long Way” that didn’t make the full album.

    http://noisetrade.com/ronniefauss

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