Luke Temple knew that he wanted to be a musician from the first time he heard Stevie Wonder’s “Inner Visions.” For those of you readers too young to remember, “Inner Visions” was done before poor Stevie became a joke. From a very young age, Temple fueled his taste for music with artists such as Bill Evans, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, and Coltrane.
He has previously released a self-titled EP, which has had some success in the Pacific Northwest, which can bode well for a budding new artist. Now that he is all growed up, Temple is releasing his first full-length album, Light a Match to a Gasoline World.
Temple was able to knock out the recording of this album in about two weeks with the help of Troy Tietjen, who has also worked with The Shins and Death Cab for Cutie. Matt Chamberlain contributes his drumming to the recording while Burke Sampson plays guitar, and Rob Stillman is listed as an “overall multi-tasker.” Perhaps he plays the clarinet, keyboard, and what sounds like an accordion in some of the songs.
Light a Match to a Gasoline World is less inflammatory than it sounds (rim-shot please). It sounds like the title for a new Rage Against the Machine album, but it contains no screaming or railing against the man. It is soft and lyrical, with meditations on loss, death, and hardship. It sounds like something not far removed from Rufus Wainwright, Nick Drake, or Elliott Smith. However, Temple does say that the title sounded appropriate for our combustible times.
The album begins with a jaunty little tune entitled “Someone Somewhere,” which contains the aforementioned accordion and clarinet. This song highlights his folksy style while also making his own mark on the genre. This is quickly followed by “Make Right with You,” which is probably my favorite song on the album, which I could see being sung by Paul Simon or perhaps even Bob Dylan. Temple shows off his quick fingerpicking on an acoustic guitar while he sings soft and sweetly, and this is all punctuated with the percussion of soft handclaps.
Building upon all of those who have come before him, Luke Temple manages to create songs that sound familiar enough that they are immediately likeable, yet fresh enough not to sound tired and derivative. I could spend all day and several pages describing his songs, but I think you get the idea. If you don’t, then just get the album anyway. It will be worth it.