Lauren Reno - Gold Rush

Majestic Ape Music


GOLD RUSH has that thing that good albums have: the ability to make you forget whether you just started listening or if you’re on your fourth time around. Lauren Reno may still be in the process of introducing herself to her listeners— and, still in her twenties, her career is still in its relatively early stages—but her songwriting has a resilience and self-assuredness that makes this debut full-length album all the more satisfying. Daughter of a gold miner of Cherokee Indian descent, Lauren grew up in rural Nevada in a family steeped in music. Her father, singer Eddie Dimock, was signed to Capitol Records in the early 1990s, and continues to perform regularly. Lauren released her debut EP, SEASONS, under her maiden name Lauren Dimock, in 2015. Two years later she met her future husband— musician, songwriter and producer—Ben Reno. She and Ben and their two young children now call Nashville home and recorded this album in nearby Berry Hill, with Ben sitting in the producer’s chair.

Influenced greatly by her Nevada upbringing, there is a compelling western vibe running through these self-penned romantic-themed songs with lashings of Southern grit added to the mix when required. Its trajectories may not be expansive, especially in geography, but in exploring emotional and romantic territories, with their resultant turmoils and discoveries, Lauren has entered a realm where singers like Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn and Martina McBride once reigned supreme. She is delightfully and supremely confident nodding to 1990s upbeat country (Crooked Smile), passionate country sass (Just A You And A Me), and soaring power balladry (Me And The Neon) while spilling personality from every direction. There’s a seductive flair to the flirtatious Bottle’s Worth A Dime. The instruments kick-up in the background as she delivers her good-natured come-on to a lover with charming intentions to share some much-needed private time.

She turns to her own family background with a couple of songs. Hushed and beautifully communicated, Sweet Marjorie is a well-written love note to her grandmother. With simple yet elegantly scored music—sighing steel guitar, murmuring keys, delicately played guitars—showing off the nuance in Lauren’s voice and the smarts in her lyricism. In contrast, Gold Rush, is a panoramic portraiture of the perils of gold mining. The brutally honest lyrics hit hard and her powerful voice adds much-needed credence to the hard-working lifestyle of a close-knit mining community. Lauren makes unerringly emotional music about unerringly sad things. The pedal steel drenched Don’t Think is a hefty country ballad full of longing, regret, and desperate pleading for a love that cannot be revived. That world-weary but not-ready-to-give-up-on-it-completely-just-yet attitude is foremost in her passionate delivery.

There’s a more stripped-back, acoustic vibe to Prone To Lose It. Strings are used minimally, but strategically, to add texture and facilitate musical transitions of this subtle, but emotional song. Some of the messages are traditional, such as in See You Again, a solo write by Lauren about a reluctant parting, and White Lies, in which it’s easier to pretend all is perfect, when it plainly isn’t, that sports hooks, urgency and a chorus that comfortably sticks in your ear. Not surprisingly then, this album is a rewarding encounter overall, one that boasts equal parts prowess and positivity.

September 2022