After these hellish, anxiety filled past three years, hell yeah, it makes perfect sense that “Namaste” is the highlighted, most promoted single track on Blinded Times, the brilliant, soulful, heartfelt and socio-politically insightful debut album by Charley Carrozo.
Previously best known for leading jam rockers Another Planet and performing with heavyweights like the Derek Trucks Band and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the multi-talented Americana-leaning singer/songwriter has created an uplifting, instantly singable spiritual anthem for the ages, with an impossibly catchy chorus (“Na na na Namaste”) surrounded by beautiful lyrics about kindness, the Universal Mind and the pure light in all of us.
If listeners focus on “Namaste” and the grittier but sweetly romantic, similarly uplifting singalong “Perfect For Me,” they might be inclined to think this collection is a wonderful, seductive and super-melodic ticket out of heartbreak, disappointment and despair. But in many ways – and all to the glorious showcasing of Carozzo’s wildly descriptive, wisdom filled storytelling skills – those gems are the outliers on an album filled with the wonder of wistfulness, relationship regret, a deep longing to connect and even a slightly veiled meditational lament for Jerry Garcia (“Closet Friend I Never Knew”).
Though Carozzo starts the album with a rollicking, lyrically biting title track balancing potential violent actions by an angry, hate-filled man (truly a manifestation of these “Blinded Times” with a plea to let love shine through the darkness, he then settles into more personal reflections that are the true heart and soul of the collection.
Though it’s hard to get those “na-na’s” out of your head once you hear them, Carozzo’s penetrates the heart even more powerfully when he’s singing melancholy lines like “wrapped those letters with that ribbon and put her past back in her dreams” (on the low key, ironically titled “I’m Doing Fine”) and “I’m so scared now that these last words will never find you when I need you most” (on the lonesome, front porch harmony filled plea “When I Need You Most”).
Those are just the tip of the poetic iceberg for this endlessly thoughtful and expressive artist, whose songs should be listened to several time to catch every crafty sonic and lyrical detail. Helping the singer and acoustic guitarist bring his songs and overall vision to enduring life are Gary Backstrom (electric guitar, vocals), Lynne Taylor (bass, vocals) and Charlie Rockwood Farr (drums). While there’s no doubt you’ll be listening to the feel good “Namaste” more than any other track, just remember, should you be in the other mood, the same artist who is giving you hope there later sings, on the final track “Nothing darker than a long dark road/Drive me home.”