Dan Weintraub specializes in morose introspection on ‘The Gap Between v2’

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Dan Weintraub/The Gap Between v2

“I may be old/I may be fat,” sings Dan Weintraub, and with those hilariously revealing lines he has totally won us over. Far too many of today’s acoustic-pop artists are so focused on whoring themselves to suburban housewives and teenage girls that they’ve forgotten the folk roots of the genre. (Sadly, it has happened to country music as well.) This is lyrically driven style, and the words should not be nonsense. Weintraub writes candidly; you almost feel that you’re trespassing into the forbidden territory of someone’s mind. On “When I Was,” Weintraub cleverly observes how people often view the past with rose-colored glasses, letting sentimentality and nostalgia disguise the biting reality of truth. So “When I Was” isn’t about what Weintraub used to be; it’s merely his original perception of himself.

The Lou Reed-esque “Too Many Lindas” jumps to the shuffling riffs of the Violent Femmes’ “Kiss Off” while “Just Before You” aches with the morose introspection of American Music Club and Buffalo Tom. This is quiet music with loud emotions. Don’t let the softness trick you. There is turbulence beneath the cozy embrace of Weintraub’s acoustic riffs.

http://danweintraub.net

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Tasteful and bittersweet guitar playing make Steven Palmer’s ‘Morning Road’ glow

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Steven Palmer/Morning Road

The title is apt because, if you’re traveling for an extended period of time, Steven Palmer’s Morning Road is what you want playing in your car. There are miles in Palmer’s voice; you can almost see the scenery that his mind has captured through the decades of his life. I love how the title track recalls Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” at one point. Is it intentional? Perhaps or maybe unconsciously. Nevertheless, it fits the mood and meaning of the song.

Palmer is no hotshot acoustic gunslinger; this is a man that, if he had started recording albums such as this early in his life, we might be looking at him differently, such as an icon in his autumn years. Palmer’s songwriting and guitar playing are tasteful and bittersweet; each cut is crafted with feeling and poetic flair. The tropical “A Simple Man Needs a Simple Plan” invigorates with a summer glow while Palmer’s cover of Charles Johnson’s “The Dill Pickled Rag” has some stunningly beautiful crystalline riffs. Lovely.

http://www.spmusic.ca

Tied to the Stone’s ‘Time of Light’ is ‘relaxing’ with a ‘nice tone’

Reviewed by Sabrina Tinsay

Tied to the Stone/Time of Light

Ever think about sailing the sea and relaxing with a group of friends on a weekend? The band Tied To The Stone has great tunes that can spark your sea excursion into reality. The songs “Almost Thirty Years Now,” “Chance Or Two On Love,” and “This Road Is Wide” encompasses the band’s raw, artistic style. There can never be too much Tied To The Stone since their songs have a wide variety, and their natural lyrical creativity can positively set a nice tone and aura for their listeners any time of the day. Without a doubt, sailing in the sea with Tied To The Stone is a moment to remember with friends throughout the years “More Than You’ll Ever Know.”

http://www.tiedtothestone.com

Published in: on June 17, 2008 at 4:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Diverse tastes like the Clash and Dierks Bentley shaped singer/songwriter Tony Cutino

Written by Carson James

Tony Cutino offers a different flavor to roots rock. Instead of merely displaying his country influences, both Cutino’s voice and sometimes his ’70s-leaning pop/rock is reminiscent of glam-era David Bowie. Considering the glut of underground Americana acts today, delivering a slight twist on the genre is always a plus.

Carson James: Every singer/songwriter has their own method of inspiration in crafting their music. What is yours? Does it begin with a specific line popping in your head or a riff?

Tony Cutino: When writing songs, sometimes it’s an experience or event that happens which spark a catchy phrase or an idea for a story line or a hook. Then again, there are times I can be playing my guitar and come up with a musical riff that strikes a nerve and gets things going. But its always those personal moments which happen in our lives that create the best songs.

James: When did you first pick up the guitar? What compelled you to play it? Was there anybody who encouraged you to do so or was it something you did on your own?

Cutino: The first time I picked up a guitar I was about five years old, a plastic guitar with a crank on it that played the Mickey Mouse song. I used to play for my family at holiday gatherings. But seriously, I was about 12 when I got my first electric guitar and amp. I happened to hear some older kids in a band practicing in their garage and I’ve been playing since.

James: Which of the tracks on your album are the most personal to you and in what way?

Cutino: The songs that are the most personal to me are the songs I wrote about experiences in my life. I wrote “Find Your Angel” after turning on the TV one morning and watching the World Trade Center towers fall. “Cowboy Now” is a song about my dad who was a real John Wayne kind of guy, a cowboy at heart.  He told me once if he could ever come back as someone else he wanted to be a cowboy. “Big Joe’s Dad’s Guitar” is a song about a dear friend who gave me his dad’s guitar because he couldn’t play it and wanted me to have it.  I took the guitar home and this song just poured out.

James: Growing up, what musicians had the biggest impact on you creativity?

Cutino: Musicians and groups that inspired me while I was developing my talent and playing in a band called Toby Redd, were The Who, Zeppelin, The Beatles, U2 and then early English groups like Elvis Costello, The Clash, and The Jam.  More recently Keith Urban, Jeffrey Steele, and Dierks Bentley.

James: Do you “read” music? Or are you mostly a player by feel?

Cutino: I can read music but not fluently. In fact, it’s been a while since I’ve done that. It’s mostly what feels right and sounds good to me and how things flow. Sometimes too much correctness can cause distractions.

http://tonycutino.com

Published in: on June 7, 2008 at 6:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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Orchestral touches power Laura Pursell’s new album

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Laura Pursell/Somewhere in this Room

Singer/songwriter Laura Pursell has never been on my radar before but she certainly will be after hearing Somewhere in this Room. Unlike most solo projects, this seems to be more of a collaboration between her and her producer Andrew Bonime, who arranged and co-wrote these lovely songs. In other words, this is no mere folk or acoustic confessional, stripped down to its basic ingredients. Bonime has gifted Pursell as massive lens in which to shoot with. This isn’t just a record a with a girl and a guitar but a girl with the power of an orchestra behind her. Violins, cellos, violas, French horns, saxophones, oboes, and organs complement the basic guitar/bass/drums set-up. Actually, complement is an understatement; they elevate these songs to another level.

Those who prefer the less-is-more standard of today’s pop craftsmanship might be puzzled by all the added instrumentation here, but Pursell and Bonime are reaching for the artistic heights set by the jazz and soul artists of the past when having a Big Band behind you was considered cool. It certainly is a breath of fresh air, and not everything on Somewhere in this Room climbs to such mountainous extremes. The softly melodic “It Might As Well Be Magic” bridges together folk and smooth jazz with subtlety and technical precision while “Skywriting Neon Lights” is reminiscent of Heart’s vintage mellow-yellow dreaminess. The rainy-afternoon melancholy of “My Heart Knows You Were Here” plumbs the depths of Pursell’s heartbroken emotional state after a friend’s suicide. It’ll leave you knocked to the ground.

http://www.somewhereinthisroom.com