Austin-based songwriter David Ramirez returns with We're Not Going Anywhere. Produced by Sam Kassirer, the album finds Ramirez painting a vividly imagined picture of contemporary America through the songwriter's own perspective of having dual American and Mexican heritage. It follows Ramirez's breakthrough 2015 album Fables, described by Q as "caked with the grit and dust of an entire lifetime."
Musically, We're Not Going Anywhere marks a departure for Ramirez who builds on the rootsy sound of his early albums to create something new and anchored in the present. It's a record informed and driven by Ramirez's own background which identifies both promise and protest at a time of socio-political agitation, "so many cultures in this country are being viewed as un-American and it breaks my heart. My family has raised children here and are proud to be a part of this country. Most of what I've seen as of late is misplaced fear. I wanted to write about that fear and how, instead of benefiting us, it sends us spiralling out of control."
This politically engaged concern runs throughout the album and is reflected in tracks such as "Stone Age" and album opener "Twins" which questions what it means to be an American in 2017, harking back to Ramirez's memories of being an 18-year old at the time of 9/11. Working alongside Ramirez's political concerns there are songs of break-ups, loneliness, and emotional distancing, all of which are sober and self-castigating such as first single "Watching from a Distance," a track that thrums with iridescent synths and a tight backbeat that sounds like lines on the highway measuring the widening rift between lovers. "People Call Who They Wanna Talk To" is Ramirez at his catchiest, marrying a playful hook to a somber realization about romantic irreconcilability.
Looming over every song is the ghost of Ramirez's great-grandmother, who inspired "Eliza Jane," a deeply poignant tune near the album's conclusion. In plainspoken lyrics, Ramirez describes how she and her brothers left Oklahoma during the Great Depression, heading northwest to Oregon. His great-grandmother's vehement determination is ultimately reflected in Ramirez's approach to fear, a message found in the album's cover art which depicts a mother and daughter – both of which have fought off breast cancer – celebrating their lives on top of a car, refusing to be outlined by death or sickness.