Monday, October 31, 2022

Bird Streets: “Lagoon” (2022) CD Review

Bird Streets is a project started by John Brodeur and Jason Falkner in 2018, the year that saw the group’s self-titled debut release. Now John Brodeur is continuing the project with a new album, Lagoon, which features several special guests, including Aimee Mann, Jim Hoke and Jody Stephens. All the material is original, written by John Brodeur. And as was the case with the first album, the lyrics on this release are excellent.

The first line that John Brodeur sings on this new album is “I ought to tell you, I’m kind of mess.” That’s a great opening line. It’s a disarming line that many of us can completely relate to, and so we are ready to take this journey with him, whatever it may be. He then continues: “Live through the day just to get to the next/Can’t return calls, never mind send a text/The monster inside, it don’t get any rest.” We’re only thirty seconds into the album, and John Brodeur has us completely drawn in. “Next thing you know, you’re afraid to exist.” Soon he promises himself he’ll do his best to dig his way out, and the song kicks in. On this track, titled “Sleeper Agent,” Ed Harcourt plays piano and bass, Michael Lockwood is on electric guitar, Blair Sinta is on drums, and Patrick Warren is on strings and keys. It unexpectedly becomes a strangely beautiful song. We continue in uncertain territory with “Machine.” Sure, this one has more of a solid rock vibe, but here he sings, “This morning I was on a tear/Talking to the wall/Like there was someone there/But you vanished into thin air/Like a passing thought/Or a condemned man’s prayer.” He is clearly haunted by someone. And of course I appreciate the Shakespeare reference in those lines (a combination of lines from Othello and The Tempest). Jody Stephens plays drums on this track. You likely know him from his work in Big Star. John Davis plays electric guitar and pedal steel guitar, while Patrick Sansone is on bass, piano, organ, percussion and backing vocals. This is a strong number.

“Burnout” begins by listing the different situations in which he gets high, covering nearly everything before too long. I have known people like that, who were high basically all the time. “I get high and say goodbye to all my cares in the world.” It’s understandable, particularly in the current atmosphere, but sad, because it seems like they’re so disconnected from things (which I suppose is also part of the appeal). The song’s title should you give a clear indication of the attitude toward getting high constantly. “I get high before I fly, and I get high in bed/I get high to satisfy the depression in my head.” And the line that really stands out is, “I get high and I wonder why nothing gets me high.” This song also taps into the feeling of loneliness experienced by so many people. Jon Radford plays drums on this track, and Patrick Sansone is on bass, piano, synthesizer and percussion. That’s followed by “The Document,” which has a gentler acoustic sound. This one also has strong opening lines: “I know you don’t want to talk/But I’ve got so much to say/Please don’t hang up the phone/These days I feel like hell/Looking for something to blame/All this time I should have known.” It’s a song about the end of a relationship, and features a good and moving vocal performance. “Forever was shorter than I thought it would be/Maybe dreams only come true in dreams.” Jim Hoke joins John Brodeur on this track, adding some wonderful work on both bass flute and clarinet. John Brodeur follows that with another song about a relationship that could be ending, “Let You Down,” in which he sings, “You just wanted me to say I’m sorry/Okay, I’m sorry/Can we get back together now.” I love his delivery of “I don’t want to let you go/But I don’t want to let you down,” the sincerity of the lines, the fear in them, and the passion. This track also features a really cool instrumental section at the end. Zach Jones plays drums on this track, and Oscar Albis Rodriguez plays bass, slide guitar, piano, mellotron and synthesizers.

“Leave No Trace” has a different vibe right from the start, in large part because of the presence of sitar. This is one of the album’s most intriguing tracks. I love that repeated guitar hook. At one point he sings “Maybe today I won’t fuck up everything,” a good mantra on some days. “In an alternate reality, I cast no ripples in the sea/No one ever saw my face/Get out quiet, leave no trace.” The pedal steel work by Jim Hoke also contributes to the unusual atmosphere of this track. This is one of my favorites. It is haunting, but in an unusual way. That’s followed by “SF 1993,” which has a mellower vibe as it starts. This song looks back as he waits for a lover he hasn’t seen in a long time. “It’s been a minute since the days of making love all afternoon/And I’m still making it up as I go along/Maybe a few more years would do us good/But I’m afraid to say that’s all we’ve got.” This track then suddenly kicks in with a dramatic force. “Let go of the history.” Then “Ambulance” begins with a good beat, and when it kicks in it has a harder rock sound. “This is not a victory/This is not a victory/This is not a victory.”

“Disappearing Act” features a horn section, with Matt Owens on trumpet and Steven Salcedo on saxophone. And it has another great opening line, one that made me laugh aloud the first time I heard it: “Things were more predictable when I was a drunk.” But this is a serious and honest number about the abuse of alcohol, and using it to lose oneself, with lines like “Spend all my time making enemies of the only friends I’ve got” and “Can’t think about the future when you want to leave it all behind.” It features a passionate vocal performance. I also like Todd Caldwell’s work on organ. That’s followed by “On Fire,” which has a more intimate feel, with John Brodeur joined only by Patrick Warren on strings. It’s a beautiful track. Then Aimee Mann joins him on bass for “Unkind,” a song that takes on a confessional tone from its opening lines, which are: “I have been most unkind/I have paid you no mind/I have been reckless and obscene/With a devil in my eye/And that ain’t something I want to be remembered by.” This track features one of the album’s best vocal performances, and some more wonderful work on strings. John Sands plays drums on this track. This is another of my personal favorites. The album concludes with “Go Free,” which has a brighter sound. “I wish you all the good things in this life/’Cause you’re a queen/Baby, go free.”

CD Track List

  1. Sleeper Agent
  2. Machine
  3. Burnout
  4. The Document
  5. Let You Down
  6. Leave No Trace
  7. SF 1993
  8. Ambulance
  9. Disappearing Act
  10. On Fire
  11. Unkind
  12. Go Free

Lagoon is scheduled to be released on November 4, 2022.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Diana Panton: “Blue” (2022) CD Review

In 2009, jazz vocalist Diana Panton released Pink, an album of songs related to that color and dealing with new love. Five years later she released Red, also featuring songs dealing with love, but this time a deeper sort of love. That album won her a Juno award for Vocal Jazz Album Of The Year. Now she completes her trilogy with Blue, which features songs of heartbreak and the loss of love. Is that the inevitable end to every love story? I refuse to believe so. But the music on this disc is excellent. The songs chosen for this album are covers, including songs by Rodgers and Hart, Van Heusen and Cahn, and Frank Loesser. Joining her on this release are Phil Dwyer on saxophone, Reg Schwager on guitar, Don Thompson on piano and organ, Jim Vivian on bass, Jeremy Bell on violin, Jerzy Kaplanek on violin, Katie Schlaikjer on cello, and Christine Vlajk on viola. The disc contains more than an hour of music.

The album opens with a medley of “Where Do You Start?” and “Once Upon A Time.” Diana Panton delivers the first several lines of “Where Do You Start?” a cappella, showing a vulnerable side and highlighting this as a moment of solitude. And she gives a beautiful vocal performance. Soon she is joined by Don Thompson on piano. “Which books are yours?/Which tapes and dreams belong to you/And which are mine?” This is a song about the difficult and depressing endeavor of untangling a relationship, and realizing just how much will have to change. “So many habits that we’ll have to break/And yesterdays we’ll have to take apart.” Yet there is still some remaining hope, heard in lines like “and you’ll be there again” and “I’ll find myself in love again,” and she indicates a tiny part of her will stay in love with that person. Diana Panton then moves into “Once Upon A Time,” describing the beginning of the relationship “many moons ago,” and we understand that not only the beginning, but the entire relationship is in the past. She reflects fondly upon those times in this song, not giving in to despair, until possibly that sad final line, “Once upon a time never comes again.” A different conclusion than that of “Where Do You Start?”

The string quartet then joins her for a beautiful rendition of The Beatles’ “Yesterday” (supposedly the most recorded song of all time), a good choice to follow that medley because of the line “And yesterdays we’ll have to take apart” in “Where Do You Start?” This version features some pretty work on acoustic guitar, as well as a nice lead on piano. This song, like the two of the medley, looks backward to a better time. “Now I long for yesterday” is such a wonderfully sad line, and Diana Panton does such a great job with it. She is in no hurry here, not wishing to leave the past. Then the saxophone helps set the mood for “Without Your Love” before Diana Panton’s voice comes in. Interestingly, this song has a more cheerful sound, particularly that guitar work, even as she sings “The sun above/Will never shine at my door/My life holds nothing in store/Without your love.” This one has a smoother feel, so that we get the sense she’ll be all right. Then from Stephen Sondheim, she chooses “Losing My Mind,” a song written for the 1971 musical Follies. This one also features some beautiful work from the string section, and some pretty work on piano. In the track’s second half, I am drawn to the bass, perhaps because it works in contrast to the ethereal sound of the vocals and strings, keeping things more grounded. “You said you loved me/Or were you just being kind/Or am I losing my mind?

The bass has a rather cheerful sound on “This Will Make You Laugh.” I love these opening lines: “This will make you laugh/I built my dreams on you/This will make you laugh/They never did come true.” There is warmth and a sweet aspect to her vocal approach. She does seem to find humor in the sad situation, even though later she sings, “but it’s not funny to me.” At the end, however, she sings, “But it’s really not that funny to me,” so admitting some humor. This track features some wonderful work on guitar, and is one of my personal favorites. “This Will Make You Laugh” was written by Irene Higginbotham. That’s followed by “The Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye.” The strings begin this one, and help to create a rather sweet vibe. As with all of this album’s tracks, it has a beautiful, heartfelt, earnest vocal performance by Diana Panton. “We summered in each other’s arms/And slumbered in the glow/We never heard the whisper of snow.” I also love the lead on saxophone, the instrument given the time to express its own warmth and longing. That is then followed by “I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life.” I love Diana Panton’s approach. There is something intimate, yet dreamy about her vocals, which is perfect for these songs of broken hearts and lost loves, characters who are, to some extent, caught up in the past. “I know I’ll really need my sense of humor/I’m going to laugh you right out of my life/Make it a beautiful joke/No one will know you broke my heart.”

As “To Say Goodbye” starts, the music eases in with some gorgeous, melancholy work on piano. But when Diana Panton begins to sing, she gets right to the point, the opening lines being “Goodbye/It’s all over now.” Her voice in those first moments hits some deeper places, giving us the sense that she really is certain it is over. Yet she is soon asking, “Please come back to me/Come, if it’s one more time/Come, even just to say/Just to say goodbye.” Oh god, that is heart-wrenching. She knows it’s over, but still opens herself up like that to more heartache. Diana delivers an absolutely wonderful performance here. That is followed by “Meaning Of The Blues,” a song that directly uses the word “blue,” opening with these lines: “Blue was just the color of the sea/‘Til my lover left me/Blue was just a bluebird in a tree/‘Til he said, ‘Forget me’/Blue always made me think of summer/Cloudless summer skies so fresh and warm/But now the blue I see is more like winter.” There is something haunting in her performance on this one. This track also contains another moving lead on saxophone. Then “I’ll Only Miss Him When I Think Of Him” is a song about how difficult it feels to move on when a relationship has ended. “Maybe in time, I guess/This longing will grow the slightest bit less/And there will be moments, yes/When it disappears/I bet I’ll forget him completely/In about a hundred years.”

Four in the morning must be the time mentioned the most in songs, from Leonard Cohen’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” and Roger Daltrey’s “Milk Train” to Josh Lederman Y Los Diablos’ “Four In the Morning (Or, Love Streams)” and Ghalia & Mama’s Boys’ “4 AM Fried Chicken.” From The Everly Brothers’ “Do You” and the Carpenters’ “I Need To Be In Love” to Sam Llanas’ “4 A.M.” and “The Only One.” And maybe the answer to that can be found within the lyrics of “It’s Always 4 AM,” written by Ron Anthony and Sammy Cahn: “When you’re all alone/It’s always 4 AM.” Diana Panton’s vocal performance has an appropriate late-night vibe. That’s followed by “Just Sometimes,” which has an intimate feel, Diana Panton’s gorgeous vocal performance full of longing. “Somewhere the sunlight warms the air around you/Just sometimes I wish that I was there to hear the things you’re saying/And hear your laughter in every changing season/It’s only now in dreams I ever see your face.” It feels like her voice is at that point beyond tears, when the air is dark around her, no matter what time it might be, and the saxophone is the perfect instrument to add to that atmosphere. This is another of the disc’s highlights.

“How Did He Look?” might be the lightest song on the album. It’s about a woman who questions a friend on how her ex is doing, also curious about the woman her ex is now seeing. “Not that I really care,” she says after asking several questions. “Nobody’s Heart” also has something of light and airy vibe, with Diana Panton singing “Nobody’s heart belongs to me/Hi-ho, who cares?” at the beginning. This song was written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart. That’s followed by Frank Loesser’s “Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year,” a song of loneliness, for in this one her man has left her, and winter lingers, the world seeming cold. But after that opening section, the song takes on a rhythm which gives us hope. And soon after that she sings, “Yes, time heals all things/So I needn’t cling to this fear/It’s merely that spring will be a little late this year.” Ah yes, she’s going to be all right, and even the saxophone sounds hopeful. The album concludes with “You Are There.” While at this point, the reminders of her lost love do not lead to despair, there is still sadness. There is still the urge to live within a dream of the past. “And all at once I realize/It’s morning, and my fantasy is fading/Like a distant star at dawn.”

CD Track List

  1. Medley: Where Do You Start?/Once Upon A Time
  2. Yesterday
  3. Without Your Love
  4. Losing My Mind
  5. This Will Make You Laugh
  6. The Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye
  7. I’m Gonna Laugh You Right Out Of My Life
  8. To Say Goodbye
  9. Meaning Of The Blues
  10. I’ll Only Miss Him When I Think Of Him
  11. It’s Always 4 AM
  12. Just Sometimes
  13. How Did He Look?
  14. Nobody’s Heart
  15. Spring Will Be A Little Late This Year
  16. You Are There

Blue was released on October 28, 2022.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Vanessa Racci: “Jazzy Italian” (2022) CD Review

Vocalist Vanessa Racci celebrates the work of Italian and Italian-American composers and singers on her second album, Jazzy Italian. And, as you might hope, the music on this disc is as delightful as the title. Vanessa Racci has a strong voice, with joy, warmth, attitude and an incredible amount of appeal. She makes each song her own, and seems to having a fantastic time doing so. Joining her on this release are Steven Feifke on piano, Glafkos Kontemeniotis on piano, Mark Lewandowski on bass, Charles Goold on drums, Sam Dillon on saxophone and flute, Max Darche on trumpet and flugelhorn, Alex Jeuin on trombone, and Danny Conga Valdez on congas.

The album opens with “Betcha I Getcha,” a song written by Giuseppe Venuti and Bix Beiderbecke. Vanessa Racci’s rendition is so damn cool from the start, with that groovy bass line and that bit of scat before she begins delivering the lyrics. This is a song in which she exudes a sexy confidence. There is a bit more scat in the second half after that good instrumental section led by the horns. That’s followed by “Volare,” which Vanessa Racci sings in both Italian and English. It was written by Domenico Modugno and Francesco Migliacci, with, as I understand it, later additions by Dean Martin, and originally recorded by Domenico Modugno. That opening section is gorgeous. And then after forty-five seconds or so, it kicks in to become a dance number, with delicious, bright bursts from the horns. There is a joyful excitement to this track.

“At The Jazz Band Ball” is another cool track, written by Nick LaRocca and Larry Shields, with lyrics later added by Johnny Mercer. I love that instrumental opening to Vanessa Racci’s version, setting a good groove. And then her vocal performance is a delight, one of the best of the album (and that’s saying something). Plus, the brass section seriously delivers here. This is one of those tracks that create an irresistible atmosphere, a place where you just want to spend your days. Ah, why can’t the energy and vibe of this song extend to the rest of the world? Imagine the effect that would have. Vanessa Racci then slows things down for a rendition of “Moon River” that has a somewhat magical sense about it, featuring some good work on flute.

Then “Coquette” bursts in, immediately owning the joint. Absolutely fantastic. Vanessa Racci includes a delicious spoken word section at the beginning: “Who does she think she is, walking around here, flirting with every guy in this place?” Here she delivers another seriously strong vocal performance. This track also features some nice work on piano. Truly, it is a joy to listen to this music. That’s followed by “Make Love To Me,” which at first will get you moving about the dance floor. Vanessa Racci is incredibly seductive in that section in the middle when she momentarily slows things down and sings, “When you’re near/So help me dear/Chills run up my spine/Don’t you know/I love you so/I won’t be happy until you’re mine.” Does she know that in that moment everyone is hers? Then on “I’m A Fool To Want You,” she again gives us a bit of spoken word at the beginning, creating an intimate feel. Then the first time she sings the title line, it is delivered a cappella, and we are pulled in even closer. What a captivating vocal performance. This is yet another of the disc’s highlights.

She also has a great time with “A Lifetime Or Two,” a more recent song written by Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli. These lines are so appealing: “I’ve got a great place to hide/Where we can go it alone/Shut off our phones.” It can be difficult to get that special someone to shut off her phone, but just imagine it. Imagine people not being able to reach you, imagine not feeling a need to respond to some text message right away. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? How did we become such slaves to these stupid little devices, and in so little time? Anyway, it is not just those lines that hold appeal in this song. This song creates a perfect scenario, tapping into that romantic part of all of us. And speaking of appeal, Vanessa Racci follows that with “A Sunday Kind Of Love,” in which she describes another desirable scene. The kind of love she wants is of course the kind of love most folks want. “I want a lonely road that leads me nowhere/I need that Sunday kind of love.” And her delivery has a relaxed, dreamy quality as she draws out some of those words. “My arms need someone to enfold/To keep me warm when Mondays are cold/A love for all my life to have and to hold/I need that Sunday kind of love.”

“Come Back Home With Me” is an original track written by Vanessa Racci, though it fits in perfectly with all these other compositions by celebrated songwriters. In fact, this for me is another of the disc’s highlights. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “How could you just walk away/After the many memories we’ve made/How can you be so sure/How do you know/You’ve never done this before/It hurts me to see you go/Leaving me here with what, I don’t know.” In this one, she gets playful when she explains how she is determined to get him back. “I’m going to talk until I change your mind/And you come back home with me.” That might work, as she wears him down. And I love when she begins to belt out certain lines toward the end. This track also features some nice work on piano. Plus, I dig that bass line. Then “September In The Rain” contains some wonderful stuff on piano. That’s followed by an interesting rendition of Chick Corea’s “You’re Everything” that begins with Vanessa Racci’s voice supported just by percussion. It then kicks in, and begins to move. The album wraps up with “At Last,” this version including the “I was never spellbound by a starry sky” introduction. As with “You’re Everything,” Vanessa Ricci puts her own spin on this song, particularly in the rhythm. This track features a powerful vocal performance, and some beautiful work on piano.

CD Track List

  1. Betcha I Getcha
  2. Volare
  3. At The Jazz Band Ball
  4. Moon River
  5. Coquette
  6. Make Love To Me
  7. I’m A Fool To Want You
  8. A Lifetime Or Two
  9. A Sunday Kind Of Love
  10. Come Back Home With Me
  11. September In The Rain
  12. You’re Everything
  13. At Last

Jazzy Italian was released on October 21, 2022 through Zoho Music.

Dave Rudolf: “As The Town Turns To Dust” (2020) CD Review

Many of us wanted to use the time during the pandemic to be productive. Dave Rudolf actually did. He released four albums, the first three of which he thinks of as his “Covid trilogy.” The first of those was As The Town Turns To Dust, which came out in early 2020, just before everything began shutting down. And though the album’s title has a rather gloomy and sad ring to it, the music on this disc is actually sweet and positive and sometimes uplifting. All but one of the songs were written by Dave Rudolf. Joining Dave Rudolf on this album are Marc Adrian on guitar and mandolin, Jack Whittle on guitar, Gary Victorine on pedal steel, Jim Widlowski on drums and percussion, John Chomey on keyboards and organ, Wally Hustin on bass, Al Joseph on violin, and Marsha Lynn Smith on backing vocals.

The album opens with “A Simple Act Of Kindness,” which has a mellow, gentle acoustic sound. It begins by describing a woman and her situation, as she loads groceries into her old car. “Her bag of items rips apart/She starts sobbing so softly/It’s just the last stab at her heart.” Sometimes the smallest trouble can set us over the edge. But when that happens to this character, someone happens to be there to help. And doesn’t that make all the difference? Dave Rudolf sings, “It wasn’t a grand gesture/It was an easy task/But for those few fleeting moments/It was more than she could ask.” Sometimes all we need is someone doing something simple to ease our burdens, a gesture to remind us we don’t have to struggle alone. Dave Rudolf delivers a kind, gentle vocal performance, fitting for the song’s subject and message. The song urges us to offer those small kindnesses to others. That’s followed by “If Nothing Goes Right, Turns Left,” which also begins by describing troubles: “When life’s unruly/And it seems like a curse/And the path you were taking/Took a turn for the worse.” This one has more of a bluesy sound, and it offers this advice: “Just roll up your sleeves/Take a different road/Get rid of the baggage/It’s dragging you down/And you lighten your load.”

A pleasant island vibe is established at the beginning of “It’s A Beautiful Day,” designed to raise our spirits, to transport us from our troubles. Here is a taste of the lyrics: “I’ve got nowhere to go, so I think I’ll just stay/It’s all about the way that you look at your life/Take a break from the noise, the worries, the strife.” It’s a song advising us to take stock of the positive things in our lives. Sometimes we do need those reminders, and certainly the pandemic caused many of us to take a fresh look at our priorities, and to clean out much we considered unnecessary. This track features some nice backing vocal work. “You could get angry/Over things that you’ve lost/Look at all of the good things/Think of all that you’ve got.” Then “I Will Wait For You” has a prettier folk and country sound at the start, and features some good work on pedal steel, as well as a passionate vocal performance. “With a heart so loyal/I will wait for you/I am your knight in armor/I am your paladin.” And, yes, the Dungeons & Dragons player in me got a little thrill at the use of the word “paladin” in a song.

“As The Town Turns To Dust,” the album’s title track, is about a place where folks lose their jobs after the main employer closes up shop. This track creates a vivid picture: “And left us to vanish/Like ghosts in a crypt/Where once there was laughter/On the streets of downtown/Now boarded doors keep watch/As the dirt swirls around.” Dave Rudolf describes the town’s demise as a “slow death as the folks moved away.” The town itself is the main character of this song, a character that has been largely abandoned. That’s followed by the album’s one cover, “Geronimo’s Cadillac,” which was written by Michael Murphey and Charles Quarto, and was the title track of Michael Murphey’s 1972 LP. It has also been recorded by Hoyt Axton, Johnny Rivers and Cher, among others. Dave Rudolf’s rendition has a rather pleasant, cheerful sound, helped by the backing vocals, that sound in contrast to the story the song tells.

Then we get into country territory with “I’ve Been Thinking About Drinking,” a fun number. And hey, who didn’t increase his or her drinking during the pandemic? This song is about a mean woman. Check out these lines: “Her tail is up and her stinger is out/She’s like her own Legion of Doom.” The kid in me smiled at that reference. And the bit about her tail and stinger reminds me of that delicious scene from The Taming Of The Shrew. And I can’t help but enjoy lines like this one: “She’s useless as a screen door on a submarine.” This track features some nice work on violin. That’s followed by “Be Careful What You Wish For,” which has a cool sound and features some really nice work on guitar. This one issues a warning in its very title. “She might be what most men long for/A fantasy that you control/But her smile could hold dark secrets/Buried deep inside her soul.” The way he delivers the lines, it is like he divulging secrets himself. This is one of my favorite tracks. It is followed by “There Will Be Trouble,” which has a lively sound. This is about how when folks feel they have little control over their own lives, their anger and frustration erupt in sadly predictable ways. “It’s a dead-end job with little pay/It’s a way to feel a little something/It’s the highlight of their dismal day/There will be trouble, it’s nearly certain/They’re liquored up and full of spite/Get out the door, or you’ll be hurtin’/They’re just itching to start a fight.” Then “I’ll Carry Your Love” has a sweeter and more intimate sound.

“Roadkill Of Love” has a meaner sound, the bass driving it forward. Yeah, the title is a bit goofy, but that’s okay. This track features some nice backing vocal work, as well as some cool stuff on keys. That’s followed by “How About You,” which opens with this line: “In matters of love, I have been inept.” This one has a sweet country vibe. It’s a positive song in which he’s told his luck will change and he will find someone special. And so he turns it on that person, asking, “How about you?” Talk about putting the person on the spot, right? But, you know, it seems like it’s going to work out. “I must have been blind to all of the clear signs/I finally know it’s always been you.” Then Al Joseph’s work on violin helps with the timeless vibe and beauty of “The Lady Of Windermere.” This is one of those folks songs that tell a story of love and murder, and it’s another of the disc’s highlights. “Her great beauty he desired/But to another man she was wed/There was no path that led her to him/Unless her love lie dead.” Then “Dance Of Love” has a pleasant vibe and includes some wonderful work on pedal steel. The album concludes with “Uneasy,” which has a darker, bluesy atmosphere, and lyrics that feel just about right for that terrible year of 2020. “The air is feeling desperate/And something’s just not right/I’m feeling real uneasy/I’ve lost my appetite.” In the second half, Marsha Lynne Smith’s vocal work adds another level, and another spark to this piece. “It might get nasty/And you won’t like the things you see/These kind of people/They will have you on your knees.”

CD Track List

  1. A Simple Act Of Kindness
  2. If Nothing Goes Right, Turn Left
  3. It’s A Beautiful Day
  4. I Will Wait For You
  5. As The Town Turns To Dust
  6. Geronimo’s Cadillac
  7. I’ve Been Thinking About Drinking
  8. Be Careful What You Wish For
  9. There Will Be Trouble
  10. I’ll Carry Your Love
  11. Roadkill Of Love
  12. How About You
  13. The Lady Of Windermere
  14. Dance Of Love
  15. Uneasy

As The Town Turns To Dust was released in February, 2020.