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CD REVIEW: Chris Yurchuck, "Dark Secret"
By David Lockeretz - 02/10/2003 - 02:34 PM EST

Artist: Chris Yurchuck
Album: "Dark Secret"
CD Review: People whose concept of country music ends at the Dixie Chicks or Tim McGraw might want to give a listen to Chris Yurchuck, a man who is living evidence of Duke Ellington's deathless statement that there are only two kinds of music: Good and bad. Yurchuck has the first one down fine.

Chris Yurchuck finds the balance that seems so elusive for the majority of songwriters: he has a contemporary flair about him but also has deeper roots in more time-tested music. While one hears the influence of acoustic-based rock bands such as Dave Matthews and the Jayhawks, sprinkles of Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits can also be felt.

Within the parameters of Yurchuck's modern folk influence, there is a lot of variety, both lyrically and musically. Acoustic and electric guitars blend nicely amidst Yurchuck's strong lead and backing vocals. The tracks range from the hard-rocking "Off To Jail" (a potent message to "Jackass" fans and their ilk) and "Nonchalant Lisa" (a bitterly humorous look at a relationship that Billy Joel hardly could have improved on) to the quieter, more introspective "Another Love" and "Two." The words are well written, talking about relationships that went wrong and why they did, about childhood friends who go separate ways and more. The production is very good too--instruments such as dobro and glockenspiel are used to add spice, but not the point of redundancy. The listener is kept guessing with quiet songs that turn loud, loud songs where all instruments but the drums suddenly drop out to create a new texture and more.

This CD truly sounds as good as anything that's out there. I hope we hear more from Chris Yurchuck, because we need him.

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