A relatively recent entry onto the local scene, Nicholas Altobelli is a solid, alt-country/folk songwriter with a penchant for mid-tempo melodies and (overly) poetic lyrics that would make fans of Leonard Cohen proud. And Waiting for the Flowers to Bloom, the young man's debut full-length effort, moves well beyond the Streetcar Visions EP released earlier this year. Much more confident in both his singing and playing, Altobelli can now match the ferocity of his words with a compositional panache lacking on the EP.
The opening cut, "Dallas," is an ominous tale of coming home when home offers little respite for what ails the heart. Other cuts such as "Can't Let Go of This Pain" and "When the World Ends" continue this bleak theme.
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When it' s all said and done, it's difficult not to call up Altobelli and recommend a good counselor. Yet the best country and folk always seem to come about during hard times. Perhaps Altobelli's blues are symptomatic of these tough economic days. Or perhaps he just can't get laid. In either case, Waiting for the Flowers to Bloom is well-written, well-played and adequately sung; everything a good Dylan album should be.