Grooves & Cuts November 2022 – By John Apice
Profile / Singer-Songwriter Michael Dinner
Southern California singer-songwriter Michael Dinner came from the same school as Jackson Browne & The Eagles. His musical worth was not a fluke – his first 2 Fantasy Record albums were excellent: “The Great Pretender,” (1974) followed by a few business issues before making “Tom Thumb the Dreamer.”
Both had exceptional supporting musicians. Linda Ronstadt, Ronee Blakely & Gail Davies all sang & the late Andrew Gold (“Lonely Boy”) played piano with David Lindley (fiddle), Larry Knechtel (piano) & Russ Kunkel (drums) on “The Great Pretender.”
The music varies richly between Ray Davies (The Kinks)-type story songs, reggae & straight country-rock. The songs are all recommended.
“Thrown Out of the Paradise Ballroom,” Tattooed Man From Chelsea,” “Silver Bullets,” & John Sebastian’s “Sitting In Limbo” are among the many excellent songs.
On his 2nd Mr. Dinner is joined by Elton John’s rhythm section — Dee Murray (bass) & Nigel Olsson (drums). Bill Champlin (organ), David Foster (keys) & Waddy Wachtel (guitar) fill out the rest. On this LP Dinner sings with sincerity far outreaching many of the more famous country artists of that era. The recording quality sparkles & is superb.
“Apple Annie,” is lyrically & musically the diamond in the dust — a classic. A delightfully charming country rocker. A great country-road song with nothing edgy but just a good, good story & narrative language. “Throw down your apron, I’ll roll my dirty sleeves, I’ll clear you off a parking spot, here across my knee…”
On the long track “Pale Fire,” the tale unfolds with heartbreaking lyrics, marvelous instrumentation with an arrangement that moves along encouragingly. Elton John’s dramatic “Burn Down the Mission,” is the song to segue to, they both have dramatic orchestrated finales.
I still can’t fathom how an artist with this talent did not strike a chord with an audience. If not on rock radio then country. Maybe it all came down to poor marketing. Needless to say, Dinner only released 2 LPs on Fantasy & went into another business. He was a Harvard-educated fellow & had talent in other areas. Our loss for sure.
The tracks on YouTube aren’t perfect but they’re worthy intros. If you still search for a youth that was left behind decades ago when rock radio fizzled out like an empty glass of Alka-Seltzer Michael Dinner is the singer-songwriter who should still make an impression.
He did impress all those other artists he worked with. No accounting for American taste, I guess.
SPILLED MERCURY & SOME CHRISTMAS MUSIC:
A few overlooked CDs released recently.
Daniel Sherrill – From A Heritage Tree
Lots of good music seems to have come lately that has fallen between the cracks. This aged a little since its initial release on June 17th (American Standard Time Records – (AST) but many things get better with age (like wine, cheese, music & uh, women). I’m older so I can say that.
The 30-minute 9-cut from Daniel Sherrill (who also produced) is worth a listen since it offers something many of us need today – serenity. The collection is primarily traditional banjo music arranged by Daniel & recorded in Ashland, OR.
The first deep dive is “Quincy Dillon’s Hi-D Tune.” It’s not going to remind you of Led Zeppelin or even Poco but the melody & how Daniel plays is calming. For some it’s piano sonatas, cellos in a quartet, Segovia with magical guitar fingers, or just a banjo on the front porch with a bloodhound at your feet & a jug of moonshine for company.
If you listen closely the notes will tell you a story without using words. Close your eyes & let it whisper to you – whatever it is that it conjures it won’t be wrong. It’s supposed to allow you to use your imagination to create a scene.
“Over the Waterfall,” is such a song. A breezy, airy fresh aural sensation — natural. The banjo isn’t amplified, it’s honest in how it translates the notes to your ears. And fortunately, you don’t have to speak banjo to understand what it says. This is not made for impression. It’s a no-frills homegrown banjo played proficiently with traditional fervor. It’s also the seed of Americana music as it was originally intended by musicians of the Appalachians whose relatives brought their traditional music from Europe. It gives ears a hint of where everything you hear today — may have come from.
This was with the addition of standardized country music that encapsulated blues, field hollers & spirituals & crossbreeding later with jazz. It’s America’s signature. It’s music, it’s food, it’s the old west tradition as laid down by people long gone. But they left the music.
I’m impressed that such a young man has taken up an instrument you’d think most people would ignore today & he mastered not only playing the music, but he gave it a new life in these pristine recordings. The CD title is where the wood for his banjo came from – the heritage tree which was already an octogenarian in 1920 when the song “Quincy Dillon’s Hi-D Tune,” was first recorded.
Not everyone will sit through much solo banjo. But once you’ve found your likes it’s easier to appreciate. For music purists it’s ideal. The CD art is wonderfully in line with its tradition — pastel colors, rural imagery, burning autumn leaves aroma.
Highlights: “Quincy Dillon’s Hi-D Tune,” “Over the Waterfall,” “Frosty Morning,” “Cumberland Gap,” “Fortune,” “Road To Malvern,” & “Deal ‘Em Out Son.”
Wino-Strut & Friends – Contemporary Blazin’
This 9-track CD has quite a country-rock groove. Infused with some swampy senses & energy it has a cool vocal fluidity. 41 minutes of catchy melodies steeped in Grateful Dead-Little Feat-James Gang performances in its sweet production.
Lead-off “Creation of a Stone,” is distinguished by the high notes & gritty colorful singing that decorate the fiddle enriched melody. It’s not country, not folk but what bands like Goose Creek Symphony, Seatrain & The Flock shaped creatively back in the 70s.
Released Sept. 23 by American Standard Time Records (AST) the label is obviously involved with placing some genuine alternative music with traditional roots into the mainstream. It’s all quite accessible.
The L.A. band isn’t what I’d call an offshoot of The Eagles – far from it. Far more raucous & driving with the gunpowder that came from earlier bands. They squeeze the wash rag for all its water & stomp on the scurrying mice & drink their whiskey from the bosom of the patron Saint Seryn the Merciful.
Yeah, this band has constructed a style of alt-country indulgence in drama as well as melody. “Time Zones,” walks the precipice of Country with its haunting sound with marvelous cool vocals (close to The Tiger Lillies’ maniacal singer on “Hell”). But this is simmered in sax tones & aggressive vocals that are the heavy machinery of the band.
The John Prine-styled “The Not So Secret, Secret Song, Song,” is a nice finale. Wino Strut is Oklahoma’s David Phillips (guitar) & musician friends are Bob Cook (multi-instrumentalist), Andrew Loweth, Guy Welles & Omar El Deeb.
Criticism? This LP could use better CD art. It doesn’t reflect the consummate intensity of the music. It looks like a parody LP & doesn’t do the music or performances justice. Look at The Grateful Dead – they had an entire “look” to their showcase & LP art right down to the covers & they were consistent.
Highlights – “Creation of a Stone,” “Master Plan,” “The Interlude of Jesse James – Part 1 & 2,” “Time Zones,” “Contemporary Blazin,” & “Keep Climbin’” – Band image courtesy of Bandcamp & artist. CD @ https://astrwinostrut.bandcamp.com/music
This Lonesome Paradise – Nightshades
Released in Oct. this 11-cut released by American Standard Time Records (AST) is somewhat strange, but its dark sweeps & creepy horns are reminiscent of Americana music that’s evident in songs typical of Los Lobos, Tito Larriva, Tito & Tarantula, The Cruzados, & such. They’re not as whacked out as The Tiger Lillies (“Hell”) but they’re close in a sophisticated way.
Its California-atmospheric & producer E. Ray Bechard’s deep lead vocals can remind ears of the late Michael Been of The Call, (especially on “Heroina”) or Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance. Not your typical upbeat Americana this collection explores the subterranean modern essences of the genre. The songs are surprisingly melodic despite eerie subjects.
Guitars can resemble the tonality of the 60s guitars of Duane Eddy, the Ventures, The Pyramids (“Penetration”) & The Chantay’s (“Pipeline”). With “Into the Sun,” the material gets a little closer to an elite ballad with a strong melody & lyrics & distinguished sound. Actually, quite nice.
A little spaghetti-western approach squirms in on “Blue For You,” with its short gallop & country/ western clops. But it’s the addition of an airy female vocal that hovers over the singer like a mist. Intriguing. The band also adds some strange sounds to embellish the drama of the tune. It works quite well.
The group maintains a high standard of 60s pre-Beatle tonality. There is more drama in the tunes by way of vocals than proponents of reverb-heavy instrumentation. “Lonely One (Always You),” is good but it’s just a straight plodding beat with 60s organ flourishes. Almost like Question Mark & The Mysterians (“96 Tears”) on steroids. You want driving music — this qualifies.
Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone, but it does have a curious attraction. And as the CD progresses they unwind & start to perform a little closer to a conventional luster (“Tragedy”). But for the most part, when you listen to this music it’ll take pokes at scenes from Orson Welles’ “Touch of Evil,” with faces similar to those film characters.
Criticism? The band deserves better CD art here as well. It doesn’t depict the actual value of the music. Too cartoonish for a noir-oriented B&W showcase. More unfiltered cigarettes with a stream of smoke, vermouth with an olive, lipstick on a mirror & black seam stockings.
Highlights: “Scorpion Song,” “Funeral Skies,” “Into the Sun,” “Blue For You,” “Lonely One,” “Heroina,” “Tragedy” & “Lonesome River.”
Musicians – Jordin Bordeaux (keys) & Bart Budwig (brass/background vocals), E. Ray Bechard, George Cessna (guitars) & & Taylor Kirk (guitars/keys/percussion/producer), Dean Shakked (bass) & Tory Chappel (percussion).
Image courtesy of The Lonesome Paradise. CD @ https://thislonesomeparadise.bandcamp.com/album/nightshades & https://thislonesomeparadise.com/
Hound Dog Taylor – Goodnight Boogie – Book
Hound Dog Taylor was known to have conjured some great blues sounds from nothing but cheap guitars & used no bass guitar. The variations of blues he was known for came from sources such as gut-bucket blues, a raw hybrid that came sliding out of Mississippi.
Award-winning Toronto writer Matt Rogers has kept his prose lean & interesting. In the 241-page Goodnight Boogie (Dropped Nov 22-BMG Books) Rogers didn’t embellish the tale with lots of detail but did keep it direct & informative. Written with a swift pen so readers can picture what’s happening as he narrates the 6-fingered blues man’s story with clarity.
It’s not only about music, but many of the tragic wolves that hounded the bluesman throughout the South in this era. Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor had his wild, wild moments. For some, like Robert Johnson, it was mysterious & tragic. For some like Muddy Waters – he lived to see his art come to fruition with younger 60s players. Taylor’s 1920s Southern childhood was where he managed to survive & play into the Chicago 70s. Surrounded by an era of racism, crime & violence. A character out of the South that led a life worthy of a film story. And not just because he was a musician.
The Delta was a fertile land from before the War Between the States. Its crops were tobacco, rice, cotton & the blues. Some say it came from Africa but actually the blues as we know it has Africa as an ingredient. But American blues also has more classical melodic influences from the church through gospel & spiritual. Add to that a cream known as early New Orleans jazz flecked with the twang of Texas country & a jambalaya of music from Mississippi & Tennessee & surrounding states – it all came to a slow boil.
It caught the talented ear, fingers & raw vocals of people like Hound Dog Taylor. Its rural juxtapositions of so many blends set feet stomping, heads-a-bopping & bodies swaying. Played primarily on guitar & piano with words “commandeered” from various sources & passed down the Tabasco kick in the blues was always unrequited love, melancholy feelings, suggestive whispers, labor & more labor, gambling, alcohol & Legba (the Devil). Tradition made it eventually a rough canvas that anyone could draw on.
The manner Mr. Rogers laid out his copy makes it an easy read, an interesting biographical journey into the footsteps of a man hounded. Who was driven by his talent & tried to not so much make a difference as to be different. It was his originality that may have kept him from finding a consistent mainstream audience as Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry & B.B. King did.
There were many blues singers who were acknowledged but had just a shallow following. Blind Willie McTell, Big Boy Arthur Crudup, Sonny Boy Williamson (both of them), Ivory Joe Hunter, Furry Lewis & Howlin’ Wolf. Some would disagree, but these names became more widely known in the 60s when white blues musicians (many from England, some from the U.S.) finally acknowledged them. Not before. For some, it was too late to enjoy the acclaim.
The book goes chapter by chapter to outline pertinent facts. Birth dates, places, confrontations with the KKK, the geography of Taylor’s home turf, background info, recordings & performances – all well-annotated. The book’s 192 pages tell Taylor’s story with the balance of pages for recordings & notes.
Hound Dog Taylor (April 1915-Dec. 1975) is considered the last great bluesman – and that may very well be so. Seated sepia image by Diane Allmen. Book cover photo 1967 courtesy of Chris Morphet / Getty Images. Available @ Amazon + eBay among others.
Dose Hermanos – Persistence of Memory
Somewhat different but intriguing is the 13-track Persistence of Memory (Dropped Nov 15–Independent). Produced by Bob BraLove except for 3 tracks that were recorded live. The music contained was performed by Tom Constanten & Bob BraLove (keyboards/all tracks) & Bob adds vocals to “Desire.”
The 67-minute CD is peppered with what sounds like a potential soundtrack for highly innovative films. “Inside the Ancient Tetrahedron,” is a progressive trip – not progressive rock though. It sounds like what progressive rock tries to achieve. The percussion is as interesting as the melodies. Strings that surround your ears & at times have that irresistible melodic Dr. Zhivago soundtrack sound. It just lacks that kind of intense Maurice Jarre arrangement. The interplay is ingenious, however.
Fortunately, while this sounds like a distant cousin to the exotic music released in the 50s & 60s by Martin Denny, Jackie Gleason, Armando Sciascia & Esquivel (some were pretty classy) it doesn’t have the smokey cocktail lounge effect, the modern psycho jungle hoi polloi & while the long track like “Garden of Delights,” (7:26) is mistitled since it reminds me more of music from the LP “Shock” — tracks performed by the Creed Taylor Orchestra in the early 60s. It has a haunting, horror movie, thriller ambiance. It is performed with expertise both instrumentally & atmospherically. The piano is eerie as the “orchestra” performs with tension.
“Cirque des Etoiles,” succumbs to an overwrought synth-styled orchestration once made exciting by Dick Hyman (“Topless Dancers of Corfu,” “The Minotaur”). While it’s pleasant enough as a performance it isn’t something that would be listened to with consistency. It’s filled with passages, bleeps & carnival melody swishes that don’t stick in the mind like cotton candy sticks to your fingers. If they were trying to summon or capture a Brecht-Weill synthesis of dark circus moods – it isn’t here.
The pseudo finger pop of “Desire,” is fairly cool & the imitation-Tom Waits/Chuck E. Weiss vocal by BraLove is credible but obviously a vocal imitation style. The synth faux brass is a bit dated. Too bad since the song itself with its deep bass & piano tinkling is stimulating. The lyrics sound like something Tom Waits would’ve passed on. Too repetitious.
If this music utilized real brass, deep note piano runs, a bellow of baritone sax & a little rewrite of the lyrics with a Michael Been (The Call) edge – it would have legs.
There’s little intonation or phrasing at work vocally. The soundscape is ambitious. But Pink Floyd has done this before. If the take-off point is the finger-popping they need to revisit some noir films like Henry Mancini’s “Experiment In Terror,” soundtrack which grabs one by the throat.
While not in the same league as the late Thelonious Monk it’s interesting to hear the prickly framework of “Islands in the Lunar Sea,” as it palpitates around in various modes through piano notes & electronics. I’m not a big fan of this music but this is interesting. The ability to play is obvious but the instinct to understand what captures a layman’s ears isn’t entirely sharp.
Monk at least was focused on a jazz audience & even had issues with some listeners. By “IRT – Inner City Rapid Transit,” recorded by Art Granoff – it’s a bit laborious although my being an NYC boy – I get it. But it’s just a little too metropolitan eccentric for most tastes. Monk once scolded a player for not playing the melody – on this track there’s no discernable melody.
Now, “Smoke Rings of My Mind,” starts off with some urgent piano notes – a cool intro to an unwritten jazz lyric. Smoky, moody, cocktail jazz with precision. This is captivating even in its laid-back potent & gently touched keys. It’s a long tune — every inch assertive. Where’s Billie Holiday or even Julie London when you need them? Excellent melody framework.
The balance of the music is rather sublime & renders itself good background music but will never take the center spotlight. There is no artificiality to it. It does encapsulate the essence of jazz boundaries with refined textures of piano but not in the same sense as Dave Brubeck, Lenny Tristano, or Monk. It dabbles on the outer margins. It has moments that will capture attention but not sustain it. The pianist’s touch on the keyboard is exceptional – they don’t pound they gently touch & the notes respond.
The musicians — all accomplished but there are just some moments of mediocrity mixed in that will distract. This can be fixed with a seasoned producer. Instrumental meanderings aren’t always entertaining. And entertaining is the secret to solid popularity. The set is good as a curiosity – but they must remember there’s an audience beyond the speakers.
Highlights: “Inside the Ancient Tetrahedron,” “Garden of Delights,” “Desire,” “Islands in the Lunar Sea,” & “Smoke Rings of My Mind.”
Sofia Talvik – Snowman – Christmas Single Download
December 1 will offer Sofia Talvik’s self-produced yearly independent Christmas single – this year it’s “Snowman.” The tune features just Sofia (guitar/keyboard/vocals) & David Floer (cello). But though it’s slim on musicians the spirit of the holiday is evident.
The Swedish singer-songwriter has always delivered wonderous Americana music in a plaintive voice & has been performing her original work since 2004. She doesn’t sing in a bombastic manner, no showboating though at times she maintains a vocal color similar to Sally Oldfield. Folk-wise she has an ideal tone that brings the clearly audible lyrics a delectable sound.
The new holiday song could be considered a sequel to her predatory ghost that lurks in the shadows & could be a figment of the imagination. Talvik has followed a persistent tradition to release Christmas music each season that leans toward a dark side – according to her PR, the song explores domestic abuse metaphorically.
With a jazz-inflected acoustic guitar & cello, Sofia’s pristine vocals take a step away from her traditional Americana approach & step into the limelight of light jazz. The results are interesting. At least this young lady is willing to take chances with what she’s better known for.
The track should be available on Soundcloud on December 1 & free as a download.
The Smithereens – Christmas With The Smithereens
This is a well-respected award-winning Carteret, NJ band that’s been around for quite a long time – 40 years. And this set is now a limited-edition green vinyl re-issue. The 10-cut LP Christmas With The Smithereens (Dropped Nov 18–Sunset Blvd Records) was their 8th in 2007. Produced by DiNizio, Babjak, Diken & Kurt Reil (additional guitar/vocals). Today, it still sizzles.
The set incorporates the best of 60s-style rock into their playful Christmas tunes. The late lead singer Pat DiNizio (vocals/guitar) who died in 2017 performs admirably on “Run, Rudolph Run,” & “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” among others. They cover Christmas songs performed & written by The Ramones (“Merry Christmas – I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight”), The Who’s “Christmas” from the rock opera “Tommy” (sung by Jim Babjak).
The classic Smithereens’ chime of guitars is poured over “Waking Up On Christmas Morning,” & performed with enough significance that it isn’t a parody, novelty, or trite. It’s well done with excellent vocals & instrumentation. It has the spirit of Christmas in its rock beat. (I don’t believe I said that). That alone is a miracle. But then, Jesus did look like he was a rocker at heart.
Brian Wilson’s “Merry Christmas Baby,” is a superb Beach Boys send-up done respectfully. Lead vocal by drummer Dennis Diken uses his finest Beach Boy vocal & succeeds. They do the same with The Who’s “Christmas,” performing it with all the gusto & aggression of Roger Daltrey.
The band is indeed a great one from the sound, their songs & delivery — exceptional to this day. I’m from New Jersey & Springsteen is OK, Billy Falcon is wonderful, Bon-Jovi has his loyal followers, Frank Sinatra is so-so, but The Smithereens are great. (I was only kidding about Frank).
With “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” the band is rap-reminiscent of The Tubes with a lyrical curve of The Nails’ “88 Lines About 44 Women.” All good but believe it or not it’s “Auld Lang Syne” that rocks the hardest here. Once she starts to heat up stand back. Red hot. Worth every penny.
Highlights – “Waking Up On Christmas Morning,” “Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me,” “Merry Christmas Baby,” “Christmas All Over the World,” “Christmas,” “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” “Run, Rudolph Run,” “Merry Christmas – I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight, “Auld Lang Syne,” & the finale is The Beatles private tune to fans “Christmas Time Is Here Again,” written by all 4 Beatles & played superbly by The Smithereens.
Musicians – Dennis Diken (drums/percussion), Jim Babjak (guitar/vocals), Mike Mesaros (bass/vocals), Severo Jornacion (bass guitar – 2006-16), David Amels (piano/chimes/Marxophone/electric piano/organ), Chris Bolger (bass/baritone guitar/acoustic guitar) & early member of The Beach Boys — David Marks (guitar).
B&W image courtesy of Deborah Feingold via AllMusic. CD @ Amazon + Target & https://www.officialsmithereens.com/
The Stubborn Lovers – Come A Reckoning
Portland, Oregon sends us a bluegrass unit that has some soak slowly melodies. They resonate nicely in the ears & even add a sweet Dana Robbins sax to “Gramercy.” This song is arranged really cool with its gripping guitar solo & sound effects. Mandy Allan’s expressive vocal is nothing short of powerful & soulful.
She didn’t just get lucky with that last tune, her “Right,” continues with even more soul & groove with a stinging guitar mindful of Steve Cropper back in the day. The band is tight as a frozen garden hose connection in winter.
Produced by the band Come A Reckoning (Dropped Nov 18-Independent) is 9-cuts of blistering confident soulful/bluesy/roots music shuffled around & balanced through gratifying arrangements. Many of the tunes have plaintive melodies that are simple & catchy – “Counting Feathers on a Sparrow’s Wing,” & the excellent “Cottonwood Run.” Upbeat pop-folk tunes with wonderful instrumental interplay & vocals.
The band: Mandy Allan (lead vocals/acoustic guitar/percussion), Jenny Taylor (bass/backing vocals) & Pearl (drums/percussion/backing vocals) with Josh Doughty (electric guitar/backing vocals), Andy MacMillan (lead electric guitar), Jeff Porter (pedal steel guitar), Kelli Venaas (backing vocals).
Guest musicians – Jake Blount (gut-string banjo on “Cottonwood Run”), Asher Fulero (keyboards on “Midnight Motion,” & “Devil Take My Heart”), Antar Goodwin (slide guitar on “Right”), Todd Melton (electric guitar on “Counting Feathers…” & vocals on “Jamestown Highway/Get On Board”), Dylan Rieck (cello on “Devil Take My Heart”), Robin Suskind (pedal steel guitar on “Counting Feathers…”).
Choir of Nicole Campbell, Michael Donhowe, Zia Doughty, Sarah Fitzgerald, Hilary Hanes, Scott Jeffries, Toni Melton & John Nyen.
Highlights – “Gramercy,” “Right,” “Counting Feathers on a Sparrow’s Wing,” “Jamestown Highway/Get On Board” “Devil Take My Heart,” & “Cottonwood Run.”
Color image courtesy of The Stubborn Lovers. CD available @ https://thestubbornlovers.com/album/2288856/come-a-reckoning & https://thestubbornloverspdx.bandcamp.com/
Band For Sale – Sleeping Sun, Waking Moon
Releasing on Dec 9, it’s an interesting independent release of a solo effort by musician Dave Brandwein that marks his return to indie-folk roots. Despite the first cut sounding more like a soundtrack to an epic film. But, eventually, as the tunes line up what’s evident is that Dave has some pleasant airy melodies, well-arranged with breezy choruses that embellish the simple music.
The somewhat folky element is doused with a liberal amount of progressive rock layers. “Is There Anybody,” while having some rootsy waxing is closer to the folky-progressive undertakings of mid-70s Strawbs & Mike Oldfield (“Tubular Bells”). The musicianship is stellar but despite the crisp production, some may find the songs dated.
It has a 70s showcase tinge. Perhaps the issue isn’t talent or originality but trying to accomplish too much too fast. “Hit By the Nite,” is a rather brisk entry with its layered instrumentation & atmospheric melodic excursion. Crossing English-folky music with the progressive drama of Strawbs with the more fantasy-oriented folklore of Yes.
Instrumental interludes are well played by this L.A.-based musician who provides 15 interesting tracks on Sleeping Sun, Waking Moon. It’s for particular tastes for sure — because it neither lingers long in strictly an acoustic realm nor intense musical scenario. It veers between the two but in a balanced way. It isn’t boring. There are moments that sparkle & moments that cruise. What Dave lacks is an insightful producer because some tunes seem to be less inventive than others. The lyrics don’t translate clearly – there are times I have no idea what he’s singing about. He does sound like he’s telling interesting stories with his lyrics. So I’m hopeful.
Songs like “Lilacs,” & “Sleeping In Spain,” are dipped generously in the tradition of bands like Stackridge, Korgis & They Might Be Giants with performances on the edge of Sparks or an obscure great band The Beaver Brothers (1978’s Ventriloquisms). I only say this because Dave instantly made me recall these artists with his musical journeys.
Dave needs to focus more on whether he wants to be an indie-folk or a high-octane progressive pop artist. His talent is obvious. His individuality is still a question. Lots of ideas but some don’t belong on certain LP concepts if you want the music to have consistency & capture an audience. It’s all an interesting effort but for selective tastes.
Highlights – “Fly Away,” “Joan,” “The Urge,” & “Sleeping In Spain.”
CD & Digital Links can be bought at the artists’ respective websites.
Rest In Peace…
Christine McVie – Singer-songwriter & keyboardist with Fleetwood Mac at 79 – Photo by Matt Mindlin
Mimi Parker – Moody, Alternative-Rock Vocalist (Image courtesy of Joe Cunningham)
Sylvia Rexach – Puerto Rico’s Bolero Singer/Composer (Image courtesy of Archive General of Puerto Rico)
Jeff Cook – Founder/Country Group Alabama (Image courtesy of Mark Humphrey/Associated Press)
Patrick Haggerty – Pioneering Country Singer-Songwriter (Image courtesy of Amanda Snyder/Seattle Times)
Gal Costa – The Innovative 5-Decade Career of the Spirit of Tropicalia/Brazilian-Pop (Image by Mauricio Santana/Getty Images
Elizabeth Stewart – Scottish Folk Singer – The Scottish Travelers/Influenced American Counterparts (Image by Alison McMorland via University of Aberdeen)
Danny Kalb – Blues Project – Guitarist/Vocalist – Photo courtesy Steve Katz’s Facebook
Keith Levene – Guitarist/Public Image Ltd./The Clash & Cowboys International – Photo courtesy of Graham Harries/Shutterstock
Jake Flint – Oklahoma Country Artist – Passed Away at 37 Hours After His Wedding – Photo courtesy of Jake’s Facebook