Monday, March 29, 2010

CD Reviews: Whale Show & Richard Julian

This past week we received an usually high assortment of CDs to review - it must be CD release season. Two we will review here, one was expected; the other a complete surprise. We have been in contact with Uncle Dave Huber ever since seeing him last November. He notified recently that his band Whale Show was releasing their self-titled CD and would send a copy as soon as possible. Viola - just what I expected. As a solo artist, Huber has an early Dylan character that was carried over into Whale Show's sound. However, this isn't just a blues-folk outfit; with Ben Pollak on lead guitar, Steve Meredith on bass guitar, and Cooper Formant on drums joining Huber - this is a versatile band. Yes, there are some Dylan-ish styled songs such as there will be blood, headin' down the ol' highway, and low down blues #6; but even within these songs the band provides a nice orchestration which elevates past the solo folk genre. They can also be humorous in 03 raw house hollar, alt-county in long time gone, harmonious in when the waters rise, and playful in the crawdad song. The latter is one of a couple traditional songs that Whale Show has mastered; the popular little sadie - the other. Many of the other tunes on the CD were written by Huber, although they sound as if they were written years earlier by the masters - proof that he has achieved the old time blues sound at such a young age. Yep,

Prior to receiving Girls Need Attention, we had never even heard of Richard Julian, but after a quick listen - this is one of the "coolest" works we have heard in a while. Yes, this is downright cool - from the lyrics, vocals, funky flavor - its sort of like Paul Thorn meets Bob Schneider. Some of that character must result from residing in New York City, who knows? The CD starts softly with great vocals and acoustic guitar in Window and displays Julian's story telling ability. He progresses to funk in Words - one of my favorite songs. But its the back of the rack which really makes this CD worthwhile. Stained Glass, Sweet Little Sway, Alexander’s Black GT,
Wedding In Cherokee County - these are great songs - with Alexander’s Black GT my overall favorite; can't get this song out of my mind. But these tracks share common ingredients that produce classic material. And yes, references to Randy Newman are legitimate.

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