Shoebox Letters

Dennis Winslow and his longtime band Shoebox Letters have never been content with merely sharing a sound. Their music speaks to those for whom life is a constant challenge, anyone, in fact, who finds that for every reward they manage to reap, there are also any number of obstacles that inevitably stand in their way. Consequently, there’s a certain irony attached to the name of their new EP, This Is It. While it heralds the arrival of an excellent new effort from this celebrated Americana outfit -- the latest in a long line of exceptional offerings -- it also goes straight to the point with a series of songs which describe the plight of today’s Everyman, those whose goal is to try to do an honest day’s work, share time with someone near and dear and find some sort of contentment along the way. “American Dreams” sums up that scenario, a road song of sorts that finds its central character fighting the Friday rush hour and dealing with the loneliness of life after punching the clock at the job all week long. In “Care Less,” the singer’s concerns are tempered by the residual effect of lost love and the need to find some sort of physical distance from newly tangled memories. The shimmer and sheen of a dobro in the title track offers a matter of fact assessment of what constitutes ordinary accomplishment, a celebration of sorts that revels in the knowledge that there’s someone willing to stand by your side. “Courage,” on the other hand, provides a sturdy assessment of what it takes to shore up strength even at the risk of adversity and disappointment. “All those dreams are a shot in the dark,” they sing on the ever assertive “Hot Property,” adroitly summing up the way higher ambitions often elude the grasp of those bound by ordinary circumstance. A set of songs that straddle the divide between promise and perseverance, This Is It provides the perfect mantra when it comes to battling the malaise and mayhem of a modern world.