As we all know, life has its fair share of ups and downs. For every failure, there’s another victory just waiting to pick us back up around the bend. There are those who we know and love, and sometimes we lose those people. These are the baseline moral strands that weave together the overall experience that is life for us all, and David Rosales knows that as well as anybody. With his new album, Brave Ones (27 April), he chronicles as much in song.
Rosales tells PopMatters, “It’s 11 songs of love, loss, adversity and triumph. I get into some pretty heavy subjects, but overall, the album has a positive vibe. It’s uplifting and makes me feel better after I listen to it. I’m hopeful it does the same for the listener.”
His third album co-produced by Donovan Frankenreiter sideman Matt Grundy, Brave Ones was given a rustic change of scenery for the two as they set out to Super Bloom Studios to record it. As it turns out, a log cabin at the edge of the Mojave Desert is a great place to produce an album full of roots tunes. Rosales is far from an insular folk artist, either, invoking elements of R&B, gospel, rock, and western influences to dust things up with a helping of soulful grit. He sinks into his music with a mellow disposition, but it’s wholly evident that he is pouring his heart into every unique performance presented on the album.
Of note, Rosales strays from the formula he sets for himself in the “love, loss, adversity, triumph” quartet a couple of times on Brave Ones. He explores his passion for nature on “Good to Be Alive”, where he looks back on his times as a kid exploring and running on trails. He digs even further back into his history on “La Battala”, which focuses on his family’s ties to the Battle of the Alamo. He is the fourth great-grandson Jose Gregorio Esparza, an Alamo Defender who fought and died alongside the likes of Davey Crockett and Jim Bowie.”
“I wanted to bring attention to this pivotal piece of American history through song,” Rosales says. “it’s a story that goes under-served and without it, I’m not here.”
At its core, Brave Ones is a collection of stories of humanity. Ever the empathetic songwriter, Rosales inherently relays relatable experiences from his own life into his songs. He digs deeper both sonically and thematically, too, delving into family history lessons with the same verve that he would any other track. Capable of writing and selling stories so true, Rosales is a folk artist at heart, but it’s in the sheer versatility of his compositions that set him head and shoulders above many breaking into the business today.
If you like what you hear, Brave Ones is out today.