For the past several years, David Ramirez has been traveling around the country with an acoustic guitar, pouring his heart into his fine, passionate tunes. He’s mostly been doing that alone, with no band to back him, while the arrangements on his albums have grown both more subtle and more expansive. On his new album, We’re Not Going Anywhere, the follow-up to his 2015 breakthrough Fables, his sound has taken another new turn. Ramirez is backed by a full band, and brings in earthy-sounding synths and chiming guitars, an almost nostalgic 80s vocabulary of instrumentation to bounce off his often-elegiac songwriting. “People Call Who They Want To Talk To” sounds like Rodney Crowell writing the theme song for a John Hughes movie. “Time” is a rhythmic patchwork of mournful pedal steel and a bubbling synth that could have been sampled from a Howard Jones album.
It would be difficult to tour with this album alone, and when I caught up with Ramirez before a recent show at the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge, Ma, he was glad he didn’t have to. As you’ll hear in the beginning of this interview, he’s happy to round out the live sound on the current tour, but he’s also thrilled just to have some company. Ramirez was relaxed and engaging when we sat down to talk. He doesn’t raise his voice much, but he’s quick with a smile. The new album is personal and political, and we talked about the inspirations for songs like “Stone Age,” “Twins,” and “Eliza Jane,” and about how he came to be that lone road warrior troubadour. If you haven’t heard his stuff, head over to his site or to iTunes to pick it up, and come back to this podcast once you’ve ingested it. You won’t regret it.
Also in this edition, I debut a new feature, doing the “New Release Round-Up” at the top of the show, detailing some of the best stuff coming out this week in comedy, music, and horror. I attended the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival over the weekend and came back with a couple of things to tell you about. And as with every episode a new track after the conversation. This week it’s comedy from Dana Gould, from his new album, Mr. Funny Man. I’ll be speaking with Gould for WBUR Boston’s ARTery site about the new album and season two of Stan Against Evil, so look for that on their site soon.
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