Gatlin’s “Flower Press” a haunting beauty

Drew Gatlin’s new album, “Flower Press,” is nothing short of breathtaking.

There are moments so beautiful, so perfect, you can’t help but hold your breath, to try to make that moment last just a bit longer.

It’s everything: it’s Gatlin’s voice, his intimate songwriting, Cody Hickman’s lacy echo background vocals, Bobby Hudspeth’s effortless production.

“Flower Press” is a pitch-perfect follow-up to Gatlin’s debut EP, “River Days.” The EP was recorded by Gatlin at home, so it offered a simple, often hazy look into the singer-songwriter’s sleepy folk.

For Gatlin’s first full-length record, the Saltillo resident went to House Creative, a studio/production company run by Hudspeth and Hickman, of Tupelo indie rock band The Embrace. Hickman and Hudspeth add nice highlights to Gatlin’s music but they didn’t use a heavy hand.

Jaime Hays, former drummer of Wavorly, offers his skills at pedal steel guitar on “Flower Press,” but it doesn’t give the album a lot of twang. It’s mostly a fitting accessory to the music.

“Flower Press” is the perfect sophomore record in that it picks up where “River Days” left off, both sonically and thematically.

“River Days” was a heartbreak record, full of pain.

Based on an Emily Dickinson poem, “We outgrow love,” “Flower Press” is a goodbye record.

The pretty give and take of “Wilt If You Will” is the album’s highlight. “Wilt if you will/I will if you don’t,” he pleads.

“Drawers” is another stand-out track. It’s so emotional, you physically feel it when you hear it. It’s painful, at times, but also full of hope.

“I won’t throw you away, I’ll cast you aside/From the floors of my room to the drawers of my mind,” he sings. “I can’t keep you around and still move on/New love is found where the old love is gone.”

It’s tracks like “Drawers” that harken back to the Dickinson poem, but Gatlin doesn’t substitute the poem for his lyrics. Gatlin took the poem and used it as a foundation for these songs.

In that way, Gatlin’s songs are timeless; “Old War” could’ve been written 100 years or a minute ago.

“Flower Press” is effortless and a true beauty.

Above all else, Gatlin served Dickinson well.

A CD release party for Drew Gatlin’s “Flower Press” is at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cafe 212. The CD will cost $5 at the show, and can be found on iTunes starting Friday.

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