The album opens with “Airplane,” which is kind of adorable, almost like a children’s song, but also with a style from an older era, the vocal line at times reminding me a bit of “Makin’ Whoopee.” Here is a taste of the lyrics: “We’re going on an airplane/Way up in the sky/We’re going on an airplane/Hoping we won’t die.” It’s a totally enjoyable song, with some nice touches on horn. That’s followed by “Sweet Talk,” a somewhat playful tune which has a relaxed vibe. “She’s got curves/Where curves are supposed to be/Shiny white teeth/She’s smiling right at me.” Then “I Don’t Trust Her” is an odd sort of love song, in which Chuck sings, “The more she drinks, the better I look,” then “Well, I don’t trust her when she’s been drinking.”
One of my personal favorite tracks is “Expressions.” It begins with some delicious, light work on piano, and is a delightful love song delivered as a wonderful duet. “Don’t need to see that ol’ Grand Canyon/I’m happy sitting here, holding your hand and/Don’t need to travel to the Great Wall of China/I’m happy here just sitting right beside ya.” So nice, and this one features some enjoyable percussion. Though of course I still want to travel to some of the places mentioned in the song with the woman I love, like to Rome. That’s followed by “Baby, I Love Your Shoes,” a country rock and roll number. I’ve never quite understood the shoe thing, but I like this playful song, particularly the line that hints at the man’s crossdressing, “I’m just very grateful that we both have the same foot size.” (Years ago, when I was living in Oregon, the band I was in had a song with similar angle, “One For Her Clothes.”)
ESOEBO then turns more serious with the emotionally engaging “Hurricane,” which has a darker, more somber tone. I’m particularly fond of Gail’s work on cello on this track, but this one also features what I think is Chuck’s best vocal performance of the album. “Looking back when it’s too late/Got to move, can’t hesitate/And I’m leaning into the eye/Well, I’m praying I don’t die.” His delivery has an honesty, a straight-forward aspect that is effective. That’s followed by another serious-sounding and powerful number, “Still Be Me,” which has a beauty, their voices sounding so good together. “If ashes turn to ashes/And dust returns to dust/I’ll still be me/I’ll still be me.” This is another of my favorites.
“A Woman’s Touch” is a mellow and kind of pretty song. (On the CD case it is listed as “A Women’s Touch,” but I’m assuming that’s a printing error). “Give our lives if we must/It should be love, but it may be lust/Every man craves a woman’s touch.” The album then concludes with “I’ll Follow The Sky,” a strong track. Check out these lines: “Trying to shake off what’s behind/Unsure of what’s ahead/Right and left both look the same/There’s demons I’ve got to shed.”
CD Track List
- Sweet Talk
- I Don’t Trust Her
- Baby, I love Your Shoes
- Still Be Me
- Far Away Tale
- A Woman’s Touch
- I’ll Follow The Sky
VI is scheduled to be released on May 31, 2019.