March 5th marked the recent release of acoustic EP, Simple Miracles from The Satellite Station on alexrainbirdRecords. Travis Rue, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist is a recent addition to the alexrainbird family and his folkish, ethereal melodies are poised to infiltrate playlists for years to come.
Rue is no stranger to the streaming world, at over a half million streams, it’s well-deserved. His haunting voice and emotional lyricism is a gift to the genre. Simple Miracles is an acoustic(ish) release of 5 tracks that are from different walks of life but easily find a home together with Rue’s trademark vocal delivery, production and organization.
Opening track Simple Miracles is a rolling chord pattern, finger-picking journey that for first-time listeners will get you quickly and well-acquainted with what Satellite Station is about. Hollow, yet upfront vocal stylings mesh with atmospheric backing vocals and tense organ patches to gradually build the listener’s interest and intrigue. Just the right amount of grit on the slow roasting, Leslie-esque track, leaves your feet gently on terra firma rather than completely floating off the ground. It’s an excellent choice for the EP’s opening and leaves no uncertainty for listening to the rest of this release.
Always Gonna Sing Along, pure Americana, fingerpicking, writing, delivery, chorus, truly authentic in nature, this track uses muffled, upright piano tones to further capture your senses and transport.
Shelter, the third track on the EP is a bit of departure, but a welcoming one. The song takes you a bit further into Rue’s writing ability and expands on his creative prowess. Shelter (a cover of itself) is piano-based and laced with moody chords and pregnant pauses. Rue uses a few out-of-pocket melodies and leans slightly towards a Broadway musical vibe on this track. It’s masterful writing and really showcases Satellite Stations need to show a bit of diversity when presenting its art.
Rue, then grounds his listener with a cover of The Cure’s, Lovesong. An endearing melody, Lovesong was a great pick for Rue’s atmospheric vocal flavor and delivery. Lush pads and reverb-laden vocals offer just the right amount of ambience to make this cover part Satellite Station and part Cure vibe. Cheers to the Disintegration guitar tone, a thoughtful and welcomed, tip-of-the-hat solo section.
So, the closing track, my personal favorite, Growing Old is a culmination of all that Satellite Station and Rue is. It blends vintage americana, au currant songwriting, country music and the result is probably the best track on the EP. It uses all the elements that Rue has provided the listener on the first 4 tracks and wraps them up neatly at the end for you. The result is a truly original-sounding work that combines musicianship, creative lyricism, a good message and a truly honest delivery. We all love when our favorite songwriters are telling the truth, delivering their art with the truest intentions, the proof is in their voice, Growing Old is the finest example of this.
So, what did we learn today? Well, we learned that Satellite Station, powered by Travis Rue is here to stay. Fans of this genre will revel in this release. Also, the importance of assembling a concise, cohesive package with the listener’s experience being paramount is the key to great EP and album crafting. Simple Miracles is a stream worth swimming.