Sound — 8
A mixture of prairieland-country, grassroots folk, and silky-pop threading, Australia's singer-songwriter-guitarist Marisa Yeaman makes music that is timeless, able to have relevance through the ages. Her second studio album Roadmap Heart is the follow up to her 2005 debut album Pure Motive. Self-produced by Yeaman, Roadmap Heart keeps a slow burning flame lit throughout the album like a vigil, while basking the tracks in acoustic fumes and trimmings of modern country that bring out dulcet sparks like the sitar and tabla played by Kanchan Verma in "Mantra, " and the piano keys in "Leaves" played by Matthew Vehl whose soothing ministrations have a natural languor and a flare for classic silhouettes. With mild temperatures and soft sweeping slopes that linger gently, the songs have a liquidity suppleness reminiscent of Missy Higgins, and dusky landscapes reflective of Mat Kearney. The loose rickety ropes of lap steel played by Carl Dedie in "Wild Things" and Garrett Costigan in "Love From Stone" give these tunes a warm country glow, and the gentle bobbing chords of the dobra played by Dave Steel in "Mercy Train" have a breezy gait lanterned by Yeaman's lamenting acoustic guitar strokes. "Bonneville" has a daydreamy feel, while "Desolate" has an earthy texture with a locomotive whipping motored by guitarist Marcus Goodwin. The festoon of bluesy whistles and country-folk motifs along "Flying North" are inviting, while the relaxing rustic trails along "Dirty Hands" have a gritty feel in the guitars as Yeaman's vocals take charge of the bridle. Yeaman's songs never stray from being elegantly gilded, though her melodies are sparsely embellished. The album has an elegant simplicity that speaks from the heart.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are self-reflective and make observations about relationships that tie people to each other. For instance, her song "Desolate" reveals emotions steep in heartache and hope, "There's a wind blowing dust from the desert / Digging up secrets that should never be stirred / She wasn't looking for trouble but it found her anyway / He was the King of lost hearts, shooting pool with a cool stare / Just a smooth talking hitcher on this road to nowhere / If what you give is what you get / How come she feels so desolate? " Yeaman's lyrics express human vulnerabilities openly and become personal in "Flying North" when she mourns, "You sunk it deep into me now, it aches like old regret / Maybe on someone else's lips I won't hear your name / Maybe I can pretend like you, that each lovers much the same / Lost myself and give away the sanctuary of my soul / Maybe somewhere out there, I can find a heart to call a home."
Overall Impression — 8
Each song is like another page taken from someone's private diary. Moving through the verses is like turning the page of a book that keeps it's audience clinging to each word wondering what will happen next. It's an album that appeals to everyone's basic need to feel connected with others through emotions and desires. Yeaman bares much about the human soul in her songs making Roadmap Heart somewhat of a key that finds the path to one's heart.