Realign Your Mind is only Greg Humphreys’s second solo album, but its genre-blending songs and local contributing artists hint at strong relationships and accumulated talent from a decades-long music career.
Folk, blues, jazz, bluegrass, and pop fans will find at least one track to their liking. Humphreys recorded the entire album in his Durham studio. His mostly smooth vocal delivery bends to each song’s genre and maintains the artist’s identity throughout an album that may otherwise be scattered. Straightforward titles, such as “Talk It Out” and “So You Say That You Love Me,” tell of the emotional phases of a long-term relationship’s demise with a few loosely related tracks mixed in, such as the opener, “21st Century Existential Latin Blues.”
The album begins with a breezy, tropical-inspired song and subdued clapping that punctuates a self-blaming retrospective of life’s uncertainty. It glides into the pop, post-fight reconciliation tune “Talk It Out” that’s as sweet as peach cobbler and would be at home floating through a dim coffeehouse.
But the folksy sing-along “Way Over Yonder,” easily the album’s best and most twangy song, gives listeners a real grasp of Humphreys’s genre flexibility. An upright bass, a banjo, and vocal harmonies create an ode to North Carolina’s rich musical heritage thanks to bluegrass and folk band members Miles Andrews (Big Fat Gap), John Garris (Steep Canyon Rangers), and Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz (Mandolin Orange).
Humphreys concludes the album and answers his own question — what do we do from here on out — with the title track, repeating “I’ll be fine” and changing his frame of mind to fully extinguish an old flame. Tying those loose ends helps make the mix tape-like album a cohesive statement of the musician’s work, rather than a sampler of his abilities.
Phrex Records. 2010, 10 tracks, $10. Available at greghumphreys.net.