All Feature Articles
Of What Was, Nothing Is Left
by Rich and Laura Lynch
March 2020 -"Of What Was, Nothing Is Left" is more timely than ever as we read the book and listen to the songs inspired by the novel. MusicCityNashville.net had the pleasure of seeing musician David Starr perform at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tennessee on the fourth day of this misfortunate month. Within a few short weeks of that show, life as the world has known it has changed dramatically, leaving us wondering what was and what will be left?
A care package from David Starr was a welcome gift in these troubled times.
David Starr is an Americana artist from Colorado who comes from a line of storytellers. His latest project was influenced by "Of What Was, Nothing Is Left" - the last book written by his grandfather in 1972. Beauty & Ruin was recorded in Nashville and arranged/produced by John Oates. Along with the album a republished version of the novel accompanies the release offering an immersive and emotional experience on both fronts.
Starr had worked with John Oates (Hall & Oates) on his The Head And Heart EP (2017), so it made sense for David to reached out to John with an idea. What if we gave several of our favorite songwriters a copy of the book and asked them to write for a concept album based on the story? The production on Beauty & Ruin is clean and crisp allowing each instrument and sentiment to shimmer. Although the final eleven compositions don't retell the tale they do reflect the occasional triumphs and the plentiful tragedies that unfold in "Of What Was, Nothing Is Left".
The first two tracks "Laura" and "Beauty & Ruin" harmoniously touch upon heartbreak. They are countered by hope in "Rise Up Again", and then it's back to tears with the timely "Bury The Young". It's a poignant piece that states the old should not bury the young which could apply to the novel or to a family in the modern era who experiences the loss of a child. "My Mother's Shame" is an edgy song of regret followed by the up-tempo "Fly By Night" but it to is touched with sadness especially in context of the book.
"It is like watching a movie," says Oates. "The cinematic aural landscape visually evokes a classic tale of tragedy, love gone wrong and an exploration of human nature and all its flaws." Set in rural Arkansas, the story is told by Frank who is introduced to us as a 14 year old boy. He gets a job working for The Capt'n who is sort of a celebrity in his close-knit community. Their lives are intertwined as he becomes a man. Time marches on taking its toll on the characters living with the calamities and consequences of poor decisions.
Fred Starr like a writer from the 1800's pens poetic and powerful prose to describe his people and their situations. Through the eyes of Frank we understand their despair, dread and doom as we are reminded that humans can be cruel - truths that most readers can relate to. The title is also telling as we find ourselves is this new decade dealing with denial and dysfunction on a global scale. Beauty & Ruin paired with the new edition of "Of What Was, Nothing Is Left" were released in February of 2020 - just in time for self-quarantined souls to order and absorb.
For more information on DAVID STARR and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links --
David Starr |
David Starr at the Station Inn