Once one of the early proponents of Americana beginning in the mid ‘80s with his sadly under-appreciated band the Silos, Walter Salas-Humara has continued to plow those fertile fields all on his own through a prolific solo career that’s expanded on that early template and imbued it with a rich and soulful stance. Consequently, it’s a cause for celebration to find him offering two new albums simultaneously, one, Work: Part One, being a revisit to some early material, both solo and with the Silos, and the second, Explodes and Disappears, a new set of songs that’s as vibrant, poetic and assertive as anything in that early catalog.
The former album is mainly an rough-hewn acoustic effort, one that gets to the essence of some of Salas-Humara’s most indelible melodies — “Tennessee Fire,” “Susan” and “Mary’s Getting Married” among them. Rehearing them now affirms that fact that they were compelling compositions early on, and yet they still resonate some thirty years later. Likewise, Explodes and Disappears shows Salas-Humara hasn’t lost any of that skill or savvy even despite the passage of time; the rustic strains of “Diner By The Train” and “Working The Waterfront” find a comfortable fit with robust, hook-laden fare like “I Will Remember You” and “The Best Thing.” A tireless troubadour, Salas-Humara ought to have garnered wider recognition by now, but it’s not through lack of perseverance or ability that he hasn’t. It’s time to take note: these are two exceptional albums by one exceptional artist.