"Armed with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, Roman Reese goes orienteering through an impressive 16 tracks on his recent release, Gritty City. Law student by day, musician by night, and adoring husband all the time, Reese draws on his experience in the military to produce an album largely about a man in love and at war.
Perhaps a reflection of the multi-faceted nature of the subjects he explores, Reese demonstrates a range of musical styles. 'Cupid's Crying' is a heartbreaking waltz, while 'Devil These Days' approaches the pop-country recipe that's popular over in Nashville right now. Other must-hear songs on the record include the frenetic 'Breath & Bone,' the blues-rock of 'Dug Our Way,' and 'Angel in Fatigues,' a stirring Americana-esque narrative. And if you like Scott Miller 's 'Drunk All Around This Town,' you'll love Reese's 'Liquor Chest.' It's the next evolution in beerhall ballads guaran-damn-teed to get the whole boozy bar singing along.
Reese's voice, too, shows versatility, sliding soothingly through a lullaby, only to jump, almost jarringly, to an impassioned, gravelly tone. It's in these moments that his voice is almost too big for his guitar, and could easily hold the backing of a full band.
Where Reese really excels is in song writing; he exhibits a rare talent for composing melodies and riffs that linger like the smooth burn of good whiskey, or like young lovers at the end of a slow dance."
— Kevin Crowe, Lisa Slade, Leah E. Willis
Roman Reese is a singer/songwriter born in Nashville who has since lived in Austin, TX, was stationed in Baghdad (took his guitar with him, too), and now plays regularly in Knoxville, TN's Old City. His third release, "Gritty City," is aptly titled. When you pull off the shrinkwrap, you might be able to shake some of the desert sand out of the insert... It sounds as if the grit is actually in his voice, which has grown even more harried since 2002's "So It Goes..." and 2004's "Behind Closed Doors." There's more bourbon and blood in this set of 16 all acoustic, Americana tracks that range from ballads about Army Nurses and the ghosts they refuse to let go, to bar-room romps where there is never enough gin to go around, to heartbreak and heartache, human emotions far too familiar to us all.