With a deceptively simple approach to the otherwise bygone era of Gainesville, Florida rock Phil Lomac is quite an astute student of Americana (despite a Berlin, Germany upbringing.) Northern Cities Southern Stars, Lomac’s third release, is anything but an elementary survey of Americana. A warm-hearted pastiche of Petty, Farrar, and anything described as banjo pluckin’ music, Lomac provides a laid-back response to easy timing music.
Softly rhythmic and splendidly non-conformist, Northern Cities Southern Stars doesn’t so much have a river run through it as it has a multitude of tributes embedded within it. The strictly autumnal guitar on “Talking to Myself” is an homage to David Gray, while “Read the Message” finds a more Jason Isbell infused vibe throughout it. This isn’t to note that Lomac is without his own presence throughout the record. Rather, it’s as if one is experiencing his process of discovering personal musical hallmarks through a fascinating lecture comprised of songs.
Considering Lomac’s history, there is something distinctly German about Northern Cities – a sort of industrial grind behind nearly every track. Without providing some sort of artifice, Lomac can’t seem to get away from his Prussian roots. However, this is hardly a restraint for the singer-songwriter, who uses the proclivity for production in a perfectly anachronistic manner.
One needn’t unpack Lomac’s latest all too much, simply because the man himself has done all the dirty work himself. Enjoy Northern Cities Southern Stars with an ear towards a theme that includes someone who clearly enjoys American (and perhaps Americanized) music.