For the second record, "VVT," Hattem went completely solo, playing all instruments on the record. The record further consolidated the "National Steel sound," which is built on acoustic guitar arrangements layered with organs, mellotrons, strings, and horns. For all of the music, it is the songwriting of Hattem that makes the records stand out as something different from your average roots-rock, alt country, or indie rock records. Mixing country and folk songwriting influences with musical influences from 60s baroque pop and late 90s-early 00s indie pop, National Steel ends up with a distinct sound to match its distinct lyrics. Highly poetic, Hattem's impressionistic lyrics conjure images in the listener's head with almost each line. The combination of ethereal instrumentation and "cosmological poetry” creates what one reviewer called a "pop quality that hearkens back to a more carefree time where a little bit of wistfulness went a long way." Another reviewer summed up National Steel by saying, "What's perhaps most appealing about this artist is the earnestness and genuine feelings expressed.
No cynicism, glibness, self-indulgence, wallowing, gimmicks or swagger - just a refreshing feeling of open-hearted, self-reliant, intelligent, reflective, old Americanism. And a great voice and musical ability to deliver the feeling." Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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