Part Laurel Canyon rock sound and part jam band, with Jack Kerouac-level road stories, the unwearied and ever positive Free Yourself casts a spellbinding aura in the wonderful “Take Your Breath Away”. From the debut album Free Music coming soon, this honey-dew dipped track is the perfect backdrop to ease the troubled mind.
Free Yourself, the recording name of singer/songwriter Wesley Walker, channels the distended lyrics from 60s and 70s Los Angeles and melts them together with sunshine-y strings and fluttering acoustic guitar strumming in this Americana folk rock hybrid. Walker, who has traveled continents collecting stories and observations, is what many might describe as granola sounding or hippie-like. I think he’s more of a realist and artist that one can imagine. To bottle this song up (it is rather long on the seven minute chart) would take many of his modern colleagues completely at a loss. His natural melodic voice blankets the listener with porcelain. He sings in the chorus and if takes your breath away/ there’s not need to explain encapsulates him as an artist. I don’t even know him, but I feel like I’ve been a fan of his for years with that one line. His songs say who he is, and “Take Your Breath Away” is the perfect debut single for this song alchemist.
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The moving music base is inviting. Small sounding, but carrying a big stick, Walker’s guitar strumming is consistently comforting. It’s like having someone rub your back as your drift away to dreamland. His guitar playing is simplistic and steady as a sidekick. The strings or orchestration is soft, too, but poignant. I felt the same way listening to “Take Your Breath Away” as I did hearing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” for the first time – exasperatedly loved. I wasn’t moved to tears like Cohen’s song, but I was smiling the entire time. This song makes you feel a part of something and connected to Walker. I was stunned and stopped in my tracks, almost feeling like time stood still. The hymn-like backing (female) vocals humming underneath the chorus grew on me with each listen, building up and laying the emotional binding. Her voice is like a warm, summer breeze coming off the ocean. It’s not enough to say Walker is friendly and engaging (when he sings won’t you please help me ease my troubled mind, I was ready to jump through the speakers and lend a hand) this song is poetry in motion, and he’s the Sherpa leading us up to the top of freedom mountain.
Fans that love the vintage works of Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot will want to add this song to their wish list. Fans that dig the more modern sounds of Mikky Ekko, Phish, John Prine, Brandi Carlile and more will want to add “Take Your Breath Away” to your Spotify lists. This song catapults its way to one of my top picks for 2020 – which at this point in the year I didn’t was possible.