CD Review: Gregg Lawless- Something Beautiful
By James Grimes - 01/28/2004 - 12:12 PM EST
Artist: Gregg Lawless
Album: Something Beautiful
Singer/songwriter Gregg Lawless has thrown a lot of musical energy and ideas onto his new disk Something Beautiful, almost, it seems in fear of separation from the project or just the constant need to express his material while itís fresh and present. Something Beautiful is Greggís third disk and after checking out his website itís easy to understand that his prolific output on this record is a result of his busy life and experiences.
After listening to the record several times, a feat in itself since there are 21 tracks and a 40 second wind down track, I was left with some high points to discuss and some questions to ponder.
Straw House is the strongest track on the album from a melodic standpoint. It rolls along and builds with a strong poppy chorus. I caught the fragrance of Danny Michel in the track, another hard working songwriter and some excellent company. I wish there was more on the record in this vain. However, there are many musical borders that are breached on this record by a variety of genres. Such as, Down By The Water, a Celtic boat ride that has you swaying with the rhythm of the waves and She Donít Love Me, track 13, a soft sad heartbreaking bluesy cut, with a strong vocal effect, and some nice clean dobro. Also some acoustic based pop folk music as in Isolated Case, track 19, reminiscent of Blue Rodeo. The lead track, Something Beautiful lacks a sticky gum quality, but rolls along with some beautiful mandolin, accordion, and organ playing. Lyrically it is wonderfully thought provoking and speaks to the songwriterís ability to paint an image with his words, which is consistent throughout the record. Several of the tracks are just bits and pieces of musical interludes that are splattered over the record. They appeal only to the artist and seem a bit self-indulgent, however, there are enough tracks to easily overlook this little annoyance.
I found Greggís vocals lacking in some depth but they have an up front honesty, and along with the sincerity of the songwriting convey an emotional connection to the material. Something Beautiful is an excellent release for folks who love straightforward, strong songwriting down the middle of the road; if you stay with it itís a nice ride.
There is a reason that Gregg Lawless has obtained a sense of notoriety and interest and itís because of his live show and his ability to inspire. He is a lesson to any artist creating and searching for a way through the traffic jam of unheard musical murmurs in the rear view mirror. I would recommend catching a show and seeing for yourself how a songwriter sounds and looks when they have an unflinching confidence in their ability.
Grafton Music 99 Hogarth Ave.Toronto, Canada M4K 1K5 tel: 416 778 5148
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