The adventures that inevitably come along with showering at random gyms and sleeping in a car while alone on a 30-day tour across the country should provide anybody with an interesting story to tell. At least, that’s what happened for Ben Limpic.
The indie singer-songwriter’s tour took him from his native San Diego to Nashville, Tenn., where he spent five days exploring the city with his then-girlfriend and now wife, Issabelle.
The trip resulted in Limpic writing the song “Cumberland,” which became the first track on his second studio EP, “Issabelle,” released June 12.
“Cumberland” kicks off the EP with a meandering guitar riff evocative of the river running through Nashville that it’s named after. There’s a slight tinny effect on the vocals that draws the attention away from them and puts the instrumentation front and center, leaving the listener to create their own lyrical journey as the music carries them along. It’s easy to envision listening to this tune on a summer road trip with the windows down, the song pouring out of the car’s speakers as the clouds roll by and the wind sweeps through the vehicle.
The titular track, “Issabelle,” bears a resemblance to Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” with its twangy guitar and lethargic vocals. But whereas “Harvest Moon” is a love song, “Issabelle” could be seen as a cry for help disguised as a love song. The lyrics are self-deprecating and heartbreaking, detailing the desire to not have to turn to vices in order to enjoy life. “I wish I didn’t have to lose my mind just to have a good time/I know it’s possible to toe the line, but forever is hard to visualize,” Limpic sings. “Does everybody need to love themselves?/Can’t I just save it up for Issabelle?”
Limpic displays his clever songwriting ability on “Your Heart is a Piece of Paper.” Simply arranged with an acoustic guitar, subtle drums, and coruscating claps, the song lyrically is an analogy comparing the heartbreak people go through in their youth to a piece of paper. Hearts, like paper, get torn up, folded up, and go through the wash when somebody forgets about leaving them in their pocket. Until, that is, they’re put back together and safely tucked away by the one who’ll put an end to all the suffering and abuse they’ve endured.
It’s honestly remarkable how songs with such somber themes present in their lyrics can be presented in a way that, if casually listened to without opening the mind for absorption of their meanings, can sound so lively and carefree. Seeing as people turn to music in times of crisis, that escapism of casually listening is a welcome distraction right now. But, with “Issabelle,” Ben Limpic also allows people to listen and feel something. Whether it’s sadness from the lyrics or joy from the music, they can feel.
Written by Brooke Luna