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Review of “End Where You Begin” by Ian Randall Thornton

Part Prophet, part poet, Ian Randall Thornton presents story through song in his debut EP End Where You Begin. Curated as a song cycle, the EP provides six tracks of profound lyrical insight into the realms of love, death and the passage of time.

The instrumentation is simple- guitar, drums, piano at times, strings here and there, electric guitar, bass, perhaps a guest appearance from a ukulele-but varies ever so slightly with each song, providing the listener a delightful smattering of the folk style without being overbearing. Together with producer Ryan Meadows, Thornton gives the listener a very personal experience, a testament to his prolificacy in house shows over the past two years. In So When I Die, he steps back from the mic to include the sound of the room in the recording; we hear footsteps in I’ve Been Told, as if he is taking the stage before our very ears. It’s all very nostalgic, his loving look at the style of the 60’s American folk music revival, but Thornton’s feet are firmly planted in the present. Suffer Not offers a more modern take on the genre with sweeping strings and soft cymbal swells.

“Love doesn’t grow on trees like something you pick for free. Love is a choice you make, to give rather than take.”

Throughout it all, Thornton remains steady- completely and thoroughly himself. His style is like an old hat found by a teenager rummaging around his parent’s attic- timeless, unique, yet very, very chic when paired with a contemporary wardrobe. It is easy to see flavors of early Bob Dylan in the conviction of his lyrics, influences of Sufjan Stevens in his guitar stylings, and similarities to Iron and Wine artist Sam Beam’s approach to folk.

Love Doesn’t Die It Grows from Micah Lindstrom on Vimeo.

Each song holds a punch line, a moral of the story- so common in folk music- without being formulaic. Wise beyond his years, Thornton muses poetically about love in its selflessness (Down in the Meadow), timelessness (I Was Made to Change), and humanity (I’ve Been Told). His earthy baritone voice bears realness, a strength rooted in brotherhood with man and friendship with God.  

End Where You Begin, though Thornton’s first solo recording project, delivers not only in meticulously crafted lyrics, but also in efficacy of overall song series form. With such honest artistry paired with the quality of writing he’s produced, Thornton’s appeal is undeniable and certainly worth following.


Buy “End Where You Begin” here: https://itun.es/us/C02t9

Book Ian for a house show at ianrandallthornton@gmail.com, and hear his other singles on his Bandcamp page. To read more about this site and our vision behind this project, access our “About Us” page or subscribe to our blog on the sidebar to your right.

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