Dustin Kensrue – Please Come Home

It’s a funny story how I ended up coming across this album.

I was listening to some tunes via XM radio, and as I was channel flipping (whilst driving down the road—not the safest of ideas I might add) what did I hear but an intriguing little folk-tinged track that I would soon learn was called “Pistol.” The man behind it: a gent by the name of Dustin Kensrue. I’d never heard of him, so I devoted the name to memory, and continued on with my day.

Once I made it home that evening, I jumped on my iBook and quickly learned that the song I’d heard was from Kensrue’s solo debut record, called Please Come Home. And, even more interesting than that, I learned that Kensrue is also the lead-singer of the hardcore band Thrice (which I personally dislike immensely).

Needless to say, my curiosity was piqued.

Once I got my hands on the full disc, I loaded it up, popped in some headphones, and dug in. What I found surprised me. The best way that I can put is to say that Dustin Kensrue has pulled a Jesse Malin; and pulled it darn well. With Please Come Home, Kensrue has managed to find his inner-storyteller, and in doing so he manages to channel the likes of Ryan Adams, Leonard Cohen, and Johnny Cash—all with considerable ease and talent.

Seeing the hardcore landscape that Kensrue comes from, it makes it even more surprising that this folk-rock poet laureate lives and breathes inside of a man best known for screaming into a microphone. Highlights include the aforementioned single “Pistol,” the stellar title track, and my personal favorite little catchy number “Blood and Wine.” There isn’t a weak track among the lot on this album, and my only complaint is that at a mere eight tracks the thing is too darn short. Kudos to Kensrue for breaking the mold, shattering it into a million pieces, sitting a stool down on top of those pieces—sitting down— and playing some heartbreaking songs on his acoustic guitar just to spite them.

(Equal Vision Records)