A letter to himself and his daughter
Ron Pope’s latest album Bone Structure presents Pope at his most vulnerable and introspective. According to his website, the album is a response to the birth of his daughter and the personal changes it wrought. The album has the intimacy of a letter from father to daughter and the uncertainty of a new parent unsure of what exactly to do but certain they do it all with love. The songs range from soft acoustic odes to a funky jam but every song retains Pope’s unmistakably influence.
After five years on the road with his wife, Pope settled in Nashville where he lives and recorded this album. Pope recorded with his own independent record label Brooklyn Basement Records and the freedom allowed him to explore. That freedom resulted in this personal and somewhat idiosyncratic album that truly keeps listeners engaged throughout its 48-minute run.
Pope begins the album with the almost mournful “Flesh of My Flesh” where he ruminates on his own past and what they mean for his future. “I’ve been poor and I’ve been hungry,” he sings in a voice that quavers but remains strong, “but you won’t walk a single inch of all the desperate roads that haunt me.” The song is clearly written to his daughter and his heartfelt confessions are touching and reflective. Pope determines not to let the troubles he saw growing up affect his daughter’s life. His warm voice invites listeners in and feel honest enough that the song never grows cliched.
“Practice What I Preach” is another album highlight with the same intent but radically different tone. A brash horn riff opens the songs which unfolds into a driving backbeat. “I don’t know if I’m qualified for this,” Pope confidently declares. The song shows another side of Pope, equally concerned with his newfound parenthood but having more fun in the learning process. He’s even a little cheeky, musing that “sometimes one and one makes three.” Pope’s funkier side comes back for the instrumental “Duck Groove” showing that he can be just as powerful without lyrics as he is with them.
Some songs on the album are not nearly so direct, but Pope’s earnest love and desire to learn and be better remains the unifying theme. “Dodge Aries Wagon” is nostalgic with a catchy melody and country-style chorus you’ll be singing to. “Habits” is an ode to being human.
Throughout the album, Pope’s characteristic dynamic voice carries listeners through a range of emotions. His voice is occasionally rough or soft or bold, but it remains earnest the entire time, as does the entire album. Each song is wonderfully and refreshingly genuine and personal.