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“Make Your Move” by Justin Rudolph

As indebted as the song is to the Americana-tinged folk of yesteryear, there’s something rather transcendent about the vocal in “Make Your Move” that makes singer/songwriter Justin Rudolph all the harder to pigeonhole in this all-new single. Although there’s a certain hipster irony to the lyrical narrative, there isn’t a moment of this performance that sounds like it was forced nor devoid of authentic emotionality. Simply put, the aesthetics might have a cosmopolitan feel, but the substance of the statements made by Rudolph here are entirely homespun and bucolic. I’ve heard my fair share of intriguing folkies this summer, but this is definitely one of the more surprisingly warm tunes to land on my desk.

“Make Your Move” benefits from a self-aware lyrical premise that you don’t need a Ph.D. in poetry to break down, but I like that it isn’t so straightforward as to disguise its bones beyond mainstream accessibility. There’s something to be said about the simplistic structure Rudolph is utilizing in this piece, and really how well he’s going about expressing an elaborate passion through such barebones means. It’s inspiring to see someone going black and white in an age of decadence most everywhere we look, and I think other Americana enthusiasts will agree.

There’s an honest tone to every part of this single, and I would argue that were the production quality not of a more stripped-down style, this tone might not have been as easily conveyed as it is in this instance. Rather than Rudolph trying to be fanciful with his words or the melodic trappings framing them in this performance, he’s getting plaintive and sticking with a very unintimidating demeanor as to acquire as much of our attention as can be nabbed from inside of a recording studio. He had me from verse one, and likely many other critics as well.

The beat here is a little uneasy in spots, but never over the top with the mild discourse it imparts to the arrangement. Rudolph does a good job of separating his cadence with that of the strings just enough to add a bit of jazziness into the fold, and while this could be deemed unnecessary by some, it’s just the hint of versatility I think he really needed to sound like a modern experimentalist in “Make Your Move.” Others might flirt with the untried, but this is a player who goes out and tries it.

Fleshing out the intricacies of one’s artistic persona is never the easiest of tasks to contend with, but for a singer/songwriter as gifted as Justin Rudolph is, it produces results like “Make Your Move.” This is a highly melodic acoustic pop track that bears enough of its soul and rustic harmonies to qualify as an old school American folk number, but no matter what you describe its core artistic construct as this is one single that will leave just about anyone within earshot swooning over the vocal and verses Rudolph presents in its roughly four and a half minutes of aural pleasure.

John McCall

The music of Juston Rudolph has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division.  Learn more https://musikandfilm.com

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