ALBUM REVIEW: Summer Goodman’s “Greatest Fears”

Summer Goodman, the golden-haired, reflective folk singer/songwriter and acoustic guitarist who has created a dedicated following here on the First Coast, just released her first E.P., entitled Greatest Fears. The six-song debut was recorded, in its entirety, in Jacksonville at JU’s Dolphinium Studios, and it is truly a breath of fresh air that is not to be missed.

MUSIC_summergoodman_picalbumMs. Goodman’s raw talent is on full display as she delivers an unflinching and well-crafted medley of innocence lost. The strikingly subjective lyrics take you by the hand and guide you through the trials that have left her youthful dreams humbled. There is bravery in her songwriting, a sobering honesty, a frank wisdom exposed in each track.

On the title track, Ms. Goodman sings longingly “when we were younger/I gave my all to you/and you did too/but now we have grown/and so have our own/the door is finally closed.” She doesn’t place the blame of her lost romance on herself or on her beau but on time itself, that immutable force that grinds something new from everything it touches. The lovers are much more the victims of the ebb of passion that weaves its way into relationships, than they are the victims of one or the other’s lack of commitment. Her subjectivity allows her to connect objectively to that continental shift below our feet, to the distance that grows where fingers no longer intertwine. From the very first track, Ms. Goodman is able to harness the melancholy that takes hold when the power to change course fades away. These internal explorations are a theme replete throughout this record, and the treasures she unearths are of value.

In the second track, ‘Found Her,’ we are again asked to walk with our siren as she searches for the shadow of a mother that is forever lost to her now. She sings, “I found her where she drew her last breath/ heartless with crows upon her chest /I wonder where she is in the afterlife/I pray to God that she’ll see the fruits of her strife.” This is a cathartic experience for Ms. Goodman, and if we are open enough, a cathartic experience for ourselves. For this is not light-hearted fare, this is really music as art.

The best example of this is in the fourth track, entitled ‘The Scarlett Letter,’ a carefully crafted gem that shows off the diverse talent of her supporting band. They enable the song to really soar despite the weighty lyrical content. Summer sings, “I can’t get away from you/you follow me everywhere I go in the day/you’re a shadow at night you’re a ghost I can’t get away from you even in my darkest dreams/you stand in the silence haunting me.” Ominous strings carry the message so effectively, then suddenly Ms. Goodman raises the octave of her powerful, full voice to a crescendo, singing, “as much as I hate everything you taught me/I’ll rise above the pain you brought me.” It is a powerful declaration, and a perfect tagline for an album that more than sets the foundation for a very promising career.

About Woody Powell