Alex Blizzy’s debut full-length studio release, A Step Behind, is an album of timeless Americana with unique sensibilities that are ought to set Alex apart from the rest of the pack. An album of easy-going, meticulously crafted pieces of folk, country, and rock music that will be hard to forget.
Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, Alex Blizzy manages on his debut to create a familiar-yet-standout atmosphere with his impassioned, nasal singing style, and with expansive soundscapes featuring lush reverbs and layered instrumental tracks, most notably among them are characterful and varied guitars. A Step Behind’s lyrics, says Alex, “…displays an earnest authenticity that finds new ways to state universal themes”. From those themes are fear of missing opportunities and pondering the consequences of staying in the same place for too long.
Blizzy’s take on making sense of falling behind in life comes in the shape of nine individual songs, with each one there is a new and fresh musical undertaking that’s almost consistently well thought out and well executed, along with soulfully sung, smart lyrical ideas. Among the album’s standout moments are the starter and titular ‘A Step Behind’. Starting with a snazzy, trebly electric, that starts riffing just in time as Alex’s first lines are sung, elegantly introducing us to the defining characteristics that will stay with us throughout the album. The soaring organ adds a beautiful depth to the arrangement, the steady beat is driving and rock solid, and Alex’s lyrics are universally relatable, lending a particular warmth to the song. A terrific-but-short lead guitar passage could have easily developed into a full solo, but ultimately, ‘A Step Behind’ is a rich introduction. ‘Wrong End of Goodbye’ introduces us to the calmer, more understated side of Alex’s songwriting. Easily comparable to Dawes, Alex’s personal twist on this style of alt-country is in his expansive and airy sound, that makes the music sound much more organic and home-grown.
‘These Footsteps’ has a sentimental, melancholic sound with its warm acoustic guitar and bittersweet chord progressions and melodies, giving the song “lead single” vibes. Particularly, the song’s seemingly sparse arrangement, its use of vocal harmonies, the slow tempo, and the beautiful lyrics that talk about going round and round in circles of regret make this song an easy standout. ‘Comin’ For You’ is a rockin’ country banger that features Alex Blizzy’s hearty yells, a driven guitar solo, a rhythm section that never takes a moment off, a wealth of rotary organs, and a healthy handful of unforgettable riffs. Pure Rock and Roll charm. ‘Love on Paper’ is another calm, acoustic stunner that features some of the album’s most emotive songwriting. With a supportive groove and pristine and crisp-sounding clean electric guitars to accompany Alex’s heartfelt delivery, this song ends up sounding like one of the sincerest songs on an album of very sincere-sounding songs. The guitar solo is provocative, colorful, and its twangy tone is pure bliss.
‘Culture King’ features a syncopated rhythm intro that takes a moment to set in, and surprising compositional turns that make it sound like a fresh turn of events, and it being the album’s penultimate song is a testament to how shapeshifting and consistently entertaining this collection of songs is. The album concludes with ‘Never Felt Better’. A gentle, lulling goodbye that exudes warmth and familiarity.
Ultimately, ‘A Step Back’ is a delightful and memorable debut from a passionate musician. Alex manages to translate real life missteps into precious musical gems that will surely outlast the consequences of those steps, and hopefully manage, along the way, to inspire somebody to not be scared of making mistakes, because sometimes they can result in beautiful things, and ‘A Step Back’ is one of them.