Texan singer/songwriter Salim Nourallah has made a fine career out of crafting eclectic collections of heartfelt odes. Later this month, he’ll issue his seventh solo outing, Somewhere South of Sane, an expansive double album that tackles “the desolation of peace in America… the implosion of a marriage… [and] the madness of a life lived among the record stacks”, among other things. Easily one of the top tracks from it is “I Missed My Own Life”. With its commandingly defeated candor and gentle arrangement, it’s a simple yet entrancing ballad that pinpoints precisely what makes Nourallah such a powerful artist.
Built around unassuming acoustic guitar arpeggios, starry effects, and somber vocals, “I Missed My Own Life” feels almost like a lost Sufjan Stevens lament in its pondering verses and impassioned ascending outburst (near the end). Of course, reflections like “We crave such useless things / All collecting tokens for our suffering / Regret / A funny thing / Stolen from the moments of our faltering” help support his sobering presence and make the track even more meaningful and arresting.
Nourallah calls the piece “the wise old man of Somewhere South of Sane“, adding that it’s the oldest track on the LP (written in February 2008, when his son was five-years-old ) and it just never “seemed to fit in” on any previous record. Thematically, it concerns his “struggle to simply be present” as a father in the midst of being “constantly distracted by the pressure and stress of trying to support a family as a self-employed musician”. He continues, “No matter how much I earned, I felt like it was never enough, and I was failing at the most important responsibility I had.” However difficult it was at the time, he looks back on the situation with a bit of gratitude since “Somewhere South of Sane could not and would not exist if things hadn’t played out the way they did”.
Check out “I Missed My Own Life” below and see if it doesn’t spark some introspection for you, too. If interested, you can also follow Nourallah on Facebook and Twitter, as well as purchase Somewhere South of Sane (with multiple bonus options) when it releases on September 28th via Palo Santo Records.