“San Jacinto,” and William Russell Wallace’s debut album Dirty Soul altogether, is not the kind of music you can just bash out in a studio. Such music always starts somewhere deep in an artist’s soul, nests there, develops and matures through real-life experiences before it finally pours out like a natural phenomenon we’re lucky enough to witness only once or twice in a blue moon.
“San Jacinto” epitomizes Wallace’s folk, old-school sound, brimming with poignant confession-like honesty and guilty introspection that drip from every poetic line, tremble of his haunting voice, and monologue of his harmonica that howls like a lone wolf in the night.
History shows that such music is never really born out of a conformist life, and Wallace has certainly lived by that philosophy. Dirty Soul is the outpourings of a vice-fueled romantic history which traverses the suburban sprawl that surrounds LA and culminates in a crash and burn on a stretch of highway with 50 pounds of weed in the trunk. In fact, most of the record was tracked in a bathroom at a Florida rehab. This is probably why the album, and “San Jacinto” in particular, feel like a desperate cry for redemption.
Wallace may feel he carries a ‘dirty soul,’ but I beg to disagree – such music could never come out of a dirty place, and either way, there are not many better ways to cleanse it.