We’ve been a fan of Dallas-based singer/songwriter/producer Salim Nourallah for many years now, starting when we first heard him on the criminally obscure Texas music classic Nourallah Brothers, a one off with his brother Faris that is easily one of the best albums you’ve probably never heard. (We also have a vague and unsubstantiated memory of possibly seeing his first band, Moon Festival, in the early 1990s, but we’re not too sure.) His first solo album, Polaroid, was one of our favorites, and we were honored to have him perform at a showcase for our old website, Mundane Sounds.
His most recent album, entitled, Somewhere South of Sane, is edgy and experimental in a way not like his earlier releases. It’s still him at his vulnerable best as he explores issues of the heart, but there’s a roughness and a willingness to experiment with sound that makes this double album even more of a compelling listen. It’s pained and sad and heartbroken and self-loathing and hopeful and reaffirming and redemptive. One song in particular, “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” is one that it struck us the most. It’s a heartbreaking tune, but only in the best way, and we are proud to present it here to you today. Here’s what Nourallah has to say about it:
Yes, “The Hearts Wants What the Heart Wants” but sometimes the heart is just plain dumb. I’d met a girl in Austin that I really liked and this song was for her. It was a crazy time because I was going through my divorce and everything was brand new. I felt like I was 24 again. I had all of this free time. I’d almost forgotten what that felt like. Two weeks before I wrote this song, I’d been sequestered outside of Austin for two weeks in a songwriting camp. I was there with several other writers trying to come up with songs to hopefully give to a publishing company to pair with big-time artists. I was involved in writing, on average, three songs a day. It was nuts. I’d never had anyone ask me to do something like this before. “Salim, we’ll put you up in a really nice place, feed you, give you fancy booze – the works! And all you have to do in return is wake up every day and write your little heart out.” I was humbled. I loved it. I felt a rush of creativity like I’d never felt before. Maybe it was all the pent-up aggression involved in my life falling apart? Who knows. I was on fire. I wrote with abandon and ease. It felt like a dream that was way too crazy to ever actually have somehow come true. Even crazier, none of those songs ever ended up anywhere but on my own records. And only three, at that: “Prisoner,” on my last solo record, Skeleton Closet; “Gimme A Go” on the NHD record; “Relief” on Somewhere South of Sane. Anyway, circling back to the girl. She ended up giving me my first real taste of the dating phenomenon known as “ghosting.” The night I wrote “The Heart Wants,” I was in the middle of the long-distance letdown. Don’t worry, it turned out to be as lucky as winning the lottery. I also got a couple of songs out of it, including this one!
Somewhere South of Sane will be released on September 28th via Palo Santo Records.