Blake Skidmore: Running Dream
Blake Skidmore hasn’t been playing music his entire life, in fact he didn’t write his first song until he was 21 years old. He grew up singing in church and had been around music his entire life. His older siblings had introduced him to records and the local music scene in Columbus in the early 90’s, it just didn’t click with him for a while that that was something he wanted to get into.
He started playing music in the summer of 2005. He started out by expressing himself through writing songs and playing the few chords on the guitar he knew. Within a few short months, he had started playing house shows on OSU campus and things grew from there. He went on to play solo shows for about a year and in 2009, he lucked into a band when he moved in with some other musicians. That band stayed together up until just a couple of years ago.
Drawing from influences like The Beatles and The Beach boys, from when he was growing up, to current singer/songwriters like Damien Jurado, David Bazan, Gillian Welch and Jason Molina, Blake has taken his life experiences of the last year and crafted a beautifully written album and his first solo release in over 10 years, titled “Running Dream”.
Blake states that he, “deliberately created a dreamy, round edged and layered kind of sound that spotlights the emotions and lyrics of the sounds.” He went on to say that during the writing process, he was thinking a lot about family, transitions, dreaming about the future and what it means to be from a certain time and place. “I really kind of felt like i was in this sort of waking state for a long time because so much was up in the air.”
The album opener, “Back on the Horse”, takes you back to the sounds of a more melodic Beach Boys with lyrics that sort of seep into your brain. The guitar solo is ambient but piercing. Blake sings quietly but that doesn’t take anything away from the strength of this icebreaker.
The second song, “Blame Benji” is the song that really drew me, personally, to Blake’s music. First listen, it really just made me crave warm weather. Upon listening more and more, in just over 4 minutes, this song manages to transport you to a different world. The flow of the lyrics, matched with the hypnotic rhythm, sets this song up to be a major showcase of Blake’s talent. “All in good time, all will be right”.
Thirdly, “Cherry Tree”, is a noticeable change of pace from the previous song. This song is more seductive sounding, with guitar riffs that expand and contract throughout the song's entirety.
For the fourth song on the album, Blake tips his hat to one of the greats, Tom Petty. His take on “Runnin’ Down a Dream” is a slower, but no less powerful, version. The cover almost makes it sounds like a sad song, but somehow it’s a fresh version, especially with the electric guitar shining through. This song is a good pick for Blake given his headspace on when he wrote the album.. The heartfelt way he sings the lyric: “there’s something good waiting down the road and I’m picking up whatever's mine”, really stuck out to me.
Track number five finds us at “Rust Belt Blues”. You can tell pretty immediately that this is a deeply personal song. It is a beautifully written and well- layered song that has an abundance of lyrics that really take your breath away. The song really builds in the last minute and a half and sort-of turns into a jam session, which is really cool for an overall downbeat song.
We arrive at the final song of the album with “Gold Coast”, and oh my goodness. We’re back to dreamy, acoustic music. This is my personal favorite on the album because it’s saturated with feelings and heart. Blake created a very simple sound with this one but managed to hit home with stunning lyrics. This song was a really strong closer and a great choice for it.
Overall, the album is a tranquil escape. It is well rounded with complex lyrics that will stay stuck in your head and fresh bursts of guitar. Blake really managed to give you a feel of where his head was at when he was writing the songs.
“Running Dream” was recorded at Signal to Noise Studios in Columbus, OH and will be released via Red Spin Records on April 2nd, 2018.
The album will have 2 release parties. One, on April 7th, in Louisville, KY. The second, on April 14th, in Columbus, OH (at Rhumba Cafe).