In our fast-paced, multimedia, multitasking, ready-to-consume world, we hardly ever take the time to engage with anything profoundly and solely. From my own experience I know for instance that there are only few listeners to my radio programmes who just do that: Sit and listen.

It is the plight of the singer-songwriter therefore, especially when performing live that his music is taken as a kind of pleasant background noise. Who needs the stories anyhow, told in the folk tradition of rendering tales by music? We have all the news input we need and more. Information overload.

It is with this in mind that I really appreciate J.P. Kallio‘s work (see earlier blog post). Relentlessly he pursues his aim in life: Music. There are almost daily sessions in Dublin with J.P. Kallio who moved there from this native Finland almost two decades ago and immersed himself in traditional music. Other than that he churns out songs weekly and blogs diligently, supporting musicians. With four albums under his belt last year alone, you would think, the songs become fodder but that is not so. He instead used the constant songwriting to fine-tune his craft.

With his new album “After The Storm” he does make it as easy as possible to entice you to really listen: Superbly produced (headphone material!), with a strong baritone voice that can convey many moods and amazing fingerpicking guitar-playing and the odd sparse additional touch of an extra instrument or vocal, you are very welcome to listen to his lyrics. Nothing distracts, unless you get distracted by the outer world. I beg you: Don’t.

“Won’t help me” starts off the album, being a good choice as it features just the voice and the acoustic guitar – a song about not blaming the world around you, but doing the first step yourself.

“Stick around” is the declaration of love in the daily grind with lovely added electric guitar and vocals.

Title track “After The Storm” introduces poignant piano sounds.

The sadder “Anytime” picks up on the song before and befitting the happier lyrics it becomes quite a rhythmic song from the middle on.

Then we have “Never Ending Road” about the one friendship that outlasts the others in a typical American country mood.

More of that in “Mama Was Right”, only with some cool slide guitar and melancholic lyrics.

Followed by one of my favourites, the incredibly delicate “Deeper Than Before”, featuring excellent finger-picking style and added vocals.

Then comes “Do your best” in the typical J.P. Kallio style; the sombre banjo-accompanied “Losing Faith”; some nice-old fashioned blues with “Dog House” and  another upbeat country-style song called “Fool”.

“After The Storm” ends up with touching masterpiece “Troubled” that shows J.P. Kallio’s use of voice and guitar at his best.

J.P. Kallio’s lyrics are observant, honest and the music transports them excellently, never becoming overbearing, able to rely on its sheer being accomplished. The album “After The Storm” is in a clear handwriting, the melancholic folk tradition despite little side steps into other genres.

Now sit down, switch everything else off and listen! Find the new album “After The Storm” on Soundcloud.