Rocky Votolato

Burning My Travels Clean

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Burning My Travels Clean Review

by Peter J. D'Angelo

Rocky Votolato plays solo acoustic guitar songs that never really make it to the point that defines a genre-busting singer/songwriter and instead force him to occupy a less-intense though still beloved realm that also includes acts like Chris Carraba's Dashboard Confessional. Votolato is also the frontman for the rock act Waxwing, but like Elliott Smith departing Heatmiser, has been focusing most of his attention on polishing his more emotional solo style. The tracks on this disc are heartfelt odes and laments of varying catchiness that can certainly win over a respectable faction of listeners, but lack the breakthrough urgency and enveloping feelings that could make a dent in the bigger picture. Focusing on the acoustic guitar and at times using a subtle backing band, Burning My Travels Clean is a sleepy record that sees the singer get a bit too melodramatic on occasion while also containing some rather respectable melodic songwriting. His country-tinged tunes are actually the most impressive moments on the disc, and as opposed to his previous solo work, Votolato now comes through with solid control over his breathy vocals. This is certainly not the best in the genre, but the songs do have a good deal of heart, and at a number of points it is clear that the singer is creating exactly what he envisioned in his romantic daydreams. It's not for everyone, but there are plenty of saddened youngsters who will be able to identify with this after only a few moments.

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