DL Rossi by Rachel Hurley
“There’s absolutely no reason why we should be doing this right now, other than the fact that this is who I am and this is what I want to do. So let’s just fucking make a record.”
Such was the theme of the recording sessions for soulful roots musician DL Rossi’s upcoming album Lonesome Kind. Known for his brand of heart-wrenching, deeply personal songwriting that’s been compared to the likes of Isbell, Orbison, and Brooks, Rossi left Nashville for his home state of Michigan last year after his uncle was diagnosed with brain cancer, only to find himself commuting back the Music City to record the follow-up to his critically acclaimed album A Sweet Thing.
After a career spent embracing and feeding comparisons to his aforementioned contemporaries, the aim this time around was to break free from those associations and let his own light shine. Raised on Christian music and spending many years of his adult life as a worship leader, he came to love Springsteen, Petty, and Jackson Browne late in the game. And while you can still hear threads of their influence, Rossi’s latest offering shows a maturity and willingness to stand on his own.
Lonesome Kind is a vibey, ‘70s-inspired album laden with Motown guitar riffs and soulful lyrics with a reoccurring theme of independence while mourning the loss of ideals and energy of youth.
It was produced by Tyler Chester (Madison Cunningham), who also lent his skills to tracking bass, keys, and some guitars. Rossi was joined by his brother Nolan (Audrey Assad) and Juan Solorzano (Molly Parden) on guitars, with Ross McReynolds (Jess Nolan, Katie Pruitt) rounding the group out on drums.
While Rossi’s past albums were mapped out meticulously for theme and sonic palette prior to entering the studio, Lonesome Kind showcases a loosening of the reins as he encouraged his collaborators to bring their own ideas to the table, resulting in a looser yet more layered sound — a live-in-a-room melancholy fit for listening on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
As the youngest of three siblings, Rossi was homeschooled and raised by Christian parents, but his father played music in the local bar scene around Metro Detroit with some friends, and once a month they came over for off-the-cuff jam sessions. When Rossi was 11 years old, his older brothers started a band, and the seeds were planted for his ongoing love affair with music. At 15, his parents bought him a drum kit. Within months, he was on stage with his brothers’ band. He ended up playing with them for 5 years, received several label offers, released two albums and an EP, and felt the high of local fame.
Professionally, things were going great, but personally, things took a dark turn. Rossi was diagnosed with testicular cancer at 27. Following a recording session at NYC’s legendary (and now-defunct) Magic Shop, he returned home for surgery and was laid out for almost two months. The cancer was discovered in stage one, and it proved to give him the jolt he needed to focus his attention on his solo music. “I realized I wanted to do more than what I had been doing. I really wanted to start writing my own music and see if I could do this,” he recalls.
He released his self-titled debut album in 2013, but his church community didn’t appreciate such a brash, punkish record that sought to question his religious beliefs and upbringing. “I released the record and got completely booted out of the worship community. They were friendly but passive-aggressive about it,” he says. “Some people didn’t like it; others didn’t care. Some thought it could be threatening to some people. It was the first time I was choosing to be honest as a songwriter.”
Nearly two years later, he underwent a nervous breakdown that shattered his love of music completely. “I got super depressed and suicidal, and I decided to give up music and try to get my life back together. I stopped playing and got a job at a Starbucks. I would play drums here and there if I could make money.”
He got married soon after, but that too was short-lived. “In the first year of marriage, shit hit the fan,” he admits, “and all of a sudden I was writing songs to cope with my life.”
Rossi’s heartbreaking life experiences — including being present during an active shooting at Opry Mills Mall — provided a deep well of material for his 2019 LP. His raw, brooding honesty evoked a ghostly Townes Van Zandt-like quality and grabbed the attention of critics and listeners alike.
With Lonesome Kind, Rossi has created a masterful singer/songwriter album unafraid to show his Motown roots while implementing more modern indie production flourishes. There’s still heartache and loss to be heard here, but there’s also light and humor, which is a reflection of the times.
“Heartbreaking melodrama with a lonesome soulful cry…a natural storytelling ability…one of the new roots Americana voices to be heard in 2019.” – Glide Magazine
“D.L. Rossi bares his soul on his forthcoming album.” – Wide Open Country
“Searingly sincere songwriting.” – PopMatters
“A shuffled country ballad carried by a vibrant rhythm section and layered acoustic and electric guitars.” – Americana UK
“Refreshingly real music.” – Cowboys & Indians
“Americana-flavored anthem to love that puts gender equality at the front of the conversation.” – CHILLFILTR
“Emotion-laden Americana songwriting in search of catharsis.” – For Folk’s Sake
“DL Rossi’s low vocals over piano tones are rich with sorrow and resignation.” – Americana Highways
“Just the right kind of rasp to his voice that works perfect for the Americana-tinged rock-based and country-kissing music.” – Ear to the Ground
“A Sweet Thing is a cathartic emission of everything he thought he knew about life, himself and what it meant to process such overwhelming heartache.” – Folk Radio UK
Publicist: Rachel Hurley