It doesn't get any more literal than writing a song about the moon and titling it "The Moon." Patrick Dethlefs does exactly that on his debut CD, Stays the Same, and the unswerving earnestness of that track isn't a fluke. The Kittredge-based teenage singer-songwriter uses his warm, homespun voice and acoustic strumming to communicate unflinchingly about loneliness, the thorniness of romance and the death of his father — but it doesn't dwell so much as it celebrates. And thanks to the backing of a broad range of harmony vocals and instruments — including banjo and production by local folk explorer Laura Goldhamer — there's a richness that augments Dethlefs's elemental, open-as-the-sky songs. When Dethlefs misses his home, he sings, "I miss my home." That simple. That pure. In that sense, the title of the disc itself is as literal as any of the songs on it: Stays the Same is a reaffirmation of the long tradition of the heart-on-sleeve folk confessional. And as such, it shines.
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