by Myles Tiessen
On Richard Inman’s latest release Faded Love Better Days, he uses sincerity, passion, and poetry to transport the audience from passive listeners to an active participant in a rich tale of classic country motifs: love, loss, loneliness, and family. These themes can be dangerous territories to tread. If overused and underdeveloped, they can make for music that is frankly underwhelming. Inman, on the other hand, recognizes the everyday nature of ordinary experiences and translates them into ardent songs that lift beyond the familiar.
Co-produced by Inman and Winnipeg staple Micah Erenberg, Faded Love Better Days not only sounds gorgeous but perfectly blends traditional country with the alternative taste brought by Erenberg. Faded Love Better Days is partially composed of songs from Inman’s previous album Hasta La Vista, and although we have heard many of these songs before and it would be nice to hear all-new material from Inman, the productions brought by Erenberg bring freshness and new vitality that make these tracks unique and individual.
Inman has always paid tribute to the Texas troubadours of songwriting and taking influence from some of the greatest songwriters of all time has developed his songs into romantic examinations of the human condition. Influence from the likes of Kris Kristofferson and Townes van Zandt is seen all over Faded Love Better Days. “Holding You Was Worth More” contains some of Inman’s most earnest songwriting. Lyrics like ‘On a hundred highways trying to leave your smile behind/ Spend a dozen months or more just untangling my mind/ Rolling like a river and hearing that I’m gone/ And you’re still stuck inside my head with all that I’ve done wrong’ demonstrate Inman’s ability to convey a special type of melancholy that somehow feeling reassuring and comforting.
The album’s title track similarly rests in a place of hidden emotions and transparency. In moments while Inman pours his self-deprecating lyrics over mournful fingerpicking and eerie violins, it feels as though he is still apprehensive. The beautiful songwriter may still not be showing us the full scope of what kind of emotional ecstasy he is capable of. ‘Gamble on another’s dime/ in the name of lost love and wasted time’ he sings before lamenting ‘The man in the mirror ain’t a friend of mine’.
With this album, Inman cements his place as a legend in the Manitoba country music scene. With songs that are rooted so deeply in universal experiences, Faded Love Better Days showcases Inmans ability to transform the mundane into beauty.