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CD REVIEW: Lester Quitzau - The Same Light
By Chip Withrow - 03/11/2009 - 05:33 PM EDT

Artist: Lester Quitzau
Album: The Same Light
Genre: Americana, Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: Robbie Robertson/The Band, Van Morrison
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: The Only Cure, Let It Shine, Shape Shifter
CD Review: I have been listening to Lester Quitzau’s fine new album The Same Light for a few weeks now. I have enjoyed it greatly, but until now it has been hard for me to put into words why I like it.

Well, it has finally become clear why I dig Quitzau's music so much. One of my favorite tracks, “The Only Cure,” is a one-song showcase for what makes Quitzau so compelling: it is a hippie/soul anthem, fusing bluesy Americana with horns and building to a grand show finale-worthy instrumental conclusion.

“In Your Arms” opens the set with a laid-back yet deep groove. Quitzau himself layers electric guitar and dobro licks atop acoustic strumming. His vocal is unassuming yet heartfelt here and throughout the disc.

“These Blues” and “Find My Way Home” sound like three friends having a comfortable musical conversation. Quitzau’s playing toes the line between jazz and blues, and Rick May’s acoustic bass is slippery. Multi-instrumentalist Joby Baker (bass and keyboards on other tracks, co-producer along with Quitzau) provides the drum backbone.

The lush, pretty soul ballad “Let It Shine” is another favorite. It is uplifiting, lifted even higher by Mae Moore’s backing vocal and washes of Baker’s Hammond organ. It is followed by the slinky, funky “Shape Shifter,” the best of three instrumentals, with Quitzau firing off wicked electric and slide riffs.

Quitzau wrote or co-wrote all songs with the exception of “The Only Cure” and the closer, Pete Seeger’s “To My Old Brown Earth.” It is a lovely conclusion, built upon Baker’s lower-register piano chords. Quitzau adds a meditative vocal and sympathetic slide guitar.

Lester Quitzau’s music has the rustic appeal of artists such as Van Morrison and Robbie Robertson, and I find myself appreciating The Same Light even more with repeated listens.

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