Sounds like … spirited folk rock that's reminiscent of David Gray, Dave Barnes, Sufjan Stevens, and a less dreary Damien Rice.
At a glance … stellar songwriting and unconventional sounds make Troast's CD more than just a run-of-the-mill folk effort.
Although Jon Troast may not be a household name yet, though he's probably hoping that'll change sooner than later, Christian music fans will definitely recognize a few of the artists who contributed to the singer/songwriter's Second Story album. Ably produced by Mitch Dane (Jars of Clay, Bebo Norman), it features Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) on electric guitar, lap steel, and banjo, as well as Andrew Osenga (Caedmon's Call, The Normals) on background vocals. Their performances are certainly a highlight, but it's Troast in the spotlight here with his catchy melodies and clever songwriting.
With his raspy vocals and laidback folksy sound, it would be easy to compare Troast to troubadours like David Gray and Damien Rice. But when all is said and done, his worldview is far too optimistic. With thoughtful insights on everything from relationships ("Everything Not Her," "The Most") to his roots ("Family"), each song has a positive take-away value without resorting to cheese—a rare feat.
In "Hurt Me Like a Friend," Troast writes about the power of redemption: "And we've all got a second story/Let's confess them all before we live instead an empty shell that we don't even like ourselves." Although many of his songs don't explicitly address his personal faith in Christ, Troast pontificated in "Was It Ever Really Mine" about the promise of heaven one day: "And I've got mansions waiting in the sky/Where the rivers run by, never run dry/There are highways of gold, room ...1