Buddy Mondlock – Filament
A little old school in its sentimental tone & suppleness but Illinois-born Buddy Mondlock’s music tends to remind a listener of the styles forged by songwriters such as the late Kenny Rankin (in songs like “Perfect”), Dan Fogelberg & the late Emmitt Rhodes. The gentle melodies, rhymey lyrics (that are at least well-thought-out & assertive) with Buddy’s moderate vocals possess richness in how he creates his expressive tunes.
It’s music that once was embraced by the counter-culture as the hippie generation began to wane & a more serious side of singer-songwriter developed. Some artists projected viable identities – some succeeded (James Taylor) & some not so much — Bruce MacPherson.
This 11-cut, 30-minute independent release is lite on the country approach & boasts some nice string charts by producer Brad Jones (upright/electric bass/harmonium/mellotron/Hammond B3/harmonica/electric guitar/xylophone) on Filament (Drops Feb 17).
Mondlock’s creativity shines on “Sunlight In My Pocket,” which has a rhythmic catchy melody hook that was evident as well in Barry Goldberg’s “Hole In My Pocket,” & Traffic’s “Hole In My Shoe.” It seems these songs have a lock on bright melodic structures. Of the 11 songs one was co-written with the late Guy Clark in 2002 – “The Dark.”
Buddy (acoustic guitar/vocals/electric & baritone guitar/12-string guitar/resonator & high string guitar/banjo/electric bass) proves as well that if he had to sing more easy-listening, MOR-type material he could easily apply his vocals full measure to that genre. As exemplified in “The Woman In the Window,” Buddy soups it up warmly & as nicely as the late Teddy Randazzo once did.
That’s quite a stretch for a single singer but Buddy manages these roads with ease. On the island-oriented dance tune “Come Back First,” Buddy lays down optimistic lyrics with “…if you want to leave, you gotta come back first.” It’s reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s “Mississippi” lyric – “you can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way.” Nice parallel.
Much of the music is inventive, inspired & not terribly controversial. The subjects in Buddy’s songs here aren’t your run-of-the-mill mainstream tales. He stretches & infuses with generous Americana ingredients. Harmonicas wind through, a pedal steel guitar breezes by, & an acoustic guitar picks haunting notes below an intense melancholy harmonium & cello through vivid descriptive lyrics (“Weak”). It’s a war-dark tale with a sensitive melody as contrasting as “Mack the Knife.” Power comes from songs that tell terrible stories through lovely melodies.
All the performances in this collection display pensive imaginative freedom. Highlights – “Filament,” “Jackson Petty,” “If You Will,” “Sunlight In My Pocket,” “The Woman In the Window,” “Come Back First,” “Weak” “The Dark” & “Problem Solved.”
Musicians – Mike Lindauer (fretless electric bass), Josh Hunt (drums/percussion), Jim Hoke (pedal steel), Avery Bright (violin/viola), Austin Hoke (cello), Evan Cobb (flute/oboe), Melissa Greener & Carey Kotsionis (harmony vocals).
Color photo courtesy of Jeff Fasano. Recorded in Nashville, TN. CD @ https://www.buddymondlock.com/