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CD REVIEW: Brian Gladstone - A Time for New Beginnings
By Jane Eamon - 08/02/2006 - 11:32 AM EDT

Artist: Brian Gladstone
Album: A Time for New Beginnings
CD Review: Flower Power is not dead; it’s been reborn in Brian Gladstone’s new CD, A Time for New Beginnings. If you’re craving old style finger-picking with a back-porch vibe, then this CD is for you.

Gladstone, creator of the Winterfolk Festival in Toronto, is no stranger to this kind of old folk music. He cites his influences as Peter, Paul and Mary, Bob Dylan and, of course, Gordon Lightfoot.

It was hard for me to get into this CD. Gladstone is definitely a great guitar player. There are several tunes on the CD that showcase his ability to play – Estrogen, Mr. Pick Quick’s Polka and Nag, to name a few. But I wasn’t drawn to his lyrics and for me, a songwriter, lyrics are everything.

I found his lyrics simplistic, the rhyme scheme sometimes forced and the overall impression one of word jamming. There was a lot of cliché usage and it was difficult sometimes to figure out what he was trying to say.

The production was a little tentative. I found myself wanting to hear the guitar more front and centre, or perhaps the second guitar to take a back seat a little more, or the mandolin to ring through a wee bit more. After a while I was bored with the similarity between most of the songs. It didn’t feel dynamic. And dynamics in an acoustic performance are everything. You don’t have much to wow the audience. So you need to draw them into your world with what you have – namely guitar and vocal.

The packaging was a simple cardboard sleeve, great for the environment but difficult for radio stations to file I suspect.

Overall, it felt like the 60’s. If that’s your thing, you might like this CD.

Gladstone’s website is www.backtothedirt.com or e-mail at brian@backtothedirt.com.



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