For his second solo album, Realign Your Mind, the lead soul man of Hobex and Dillon Fence, Greg Humphreys, delivers an intimate set of songs shadowed in twilight. Leavened by spare, airy arrangements often consisting only of his voice and guitar, these songs come colored with a circumspect sense of loss brought on by the end of a long relationship. Realign Your Mind is not so much the sad country-folk you might expect, though. Rather, there's a casual, sweet and laidback vibe that suggests Laurel Canyon and tips the album's first half, at least, in an Adult Contemporary direction.
Humphreys opens with a trio of two-minute tracks—the jazzy "Baby's Gone Away," the fingerpicked drift of the title track and the equally dulcet "So You Say You Love Me." With these pieces, Humphreys invokes the spirits of Dan Fogelberg, James Taylor and Cat Stevens. They each point to the full-band "Talk it Out," which possesses the light-rock, early-'70s singer/ songwriter glow.
The second half finally pushes the sounds. "Thought I'd Be a Rambler" is crisply crafted country-folk, while "Way Over Yonder" is an energetic bluegrass band shot. The summery island sound of "When You Comin' Home" shines like a sunburst on a cloudy day. The highlight is "Used Vehicle," a parched country ballad whose road-worn conceit fits the album's peripatetic theme. On the strength of the lyrics and Humphreys' world-weary delivery, it suggests Townes Van Zandt and provides a necessary moment of tension.
Humphreys' velvety voice skates easily over these sonorous melodies. It's pretty stuff, so those who like their rock soft and hummable will find much to enjoy. Fans of Humphreys' past efforts, however, may long for a bit of grit. Whatever one's feelings about Realign Your Mind's aged countenance, Humphreys' craftsmanship and effortlessly endearing voice are still striking.
Realign Your Mind is available through GregHumphreys.net.
Correction (Nov. 12, 2010): The name of the album is Realign Your Mind, not Realign My Mind as we originally published.