Singer/Songwriter David Raybuck Releases New Music
David Raybuck’s voice makes merry with a blushing beat when “Who’s My Neighbor” begins to play, but for as powerful a moment as his first few lines create in this brilliant song from the new album The Prodigal, it pales in comparison to the chill-inducing energy that we discover immediately after pressing play on “Hosanna,” the track that comes directly before it on the record. Wedged between this track and the equaling beguiling “Scales,” “Hosanna” feels like the proper conclusion to The Prodigal where “Who’s My Neighbor” is more of an epilogue, but no matter what order these songs are played in, I found them to be unapologetically evocative on every level that matters. Raybuck is willing to pull out whatever stops he has to in his all-new LP, whether that means making layered vocal harmonies in “Abide” or engaging in duets with a set of gorgeous strings that verge on some ultra-provocative territories in “Scales,” and as I see it, his efforts produce some of the best work out of his scene so far and then some.
“Why I Sing” and “Dwell” feel like two sides of the same sonic coin, and though they’re structured around an entirely different creative premise than “In the Shadow of Your Wings” is, I think this trio of songs are the only inseparable bunch on the album. Raybuck gets alarmingly raw with us in “In the Shadow of Your Wings,” and where his words create a hollow dissonance that lingers on, into “Dwell,” his construction of the track’s main melody makes the transition into a relatively peaceful “Why I Sing” hiccup-free. “My Suffering” is more of a segue piece from the humble “Long Time Coming” into the darkness of “In the Shadow of Your Wings,” the former of which probably being my favorite David Raybuck song at the moment, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this sequence of tracks leaves something to be desired when compared to the implied first and third acts in The Prodigal. This was a methodical project for Raybuck, and personally, I think his emphasis on even the most minor of details is admirable both critically and artistically in today’s ragtag culture of pop music.
Irony makes its first appearance on The Prodigal with “Desert Ride” before divvying out more of its signature charms in the title track, and I think that this element was perfect for both of the songs it plays a part in. The emotional subtexts in this piece are all fantastic counterparts to Raybuck’s leading voice in the record, and by interspersing the more aggressively vocal tracks amidst the straightforward numbers like “Be Healed” and “Words of the Teacher,” we’re able to appreciate the vast textures available to us in this music all the more. The acoustic video I recently saw for “The Pathway” completely captures the essence of the energy that makes its parent album so hard to put down, and though it came out only just recently, it feels like one of the first really important videos among his scene this fall – because of how unfiltered it shows him. There are a lot of good things ahead for this singer/songwriter, and I’ll be looking forward to hearing more from him as 2022 progresses.