Andrew Greer: Open Book
Sounds like … the sparse rock rumblings of Ryan Adams crossed with the organic, Americana underpinning of Emmylou Harris
At a glance … an intensely reflective record that digs deep into the songwriter's emotions from childhood through today
It's often been said that solitude can do wonder for a songwriter, and in the case of Andrew Greer, retreating to a Wyoming lodge built by Buffalo Bill Cody served as a primary muse. Not only did it keep him away from Nashville's industry rumblings, but it also forced a soul-bearing, lyric-crafting period that ranged from reflective to regretful to redemptive.
Whether dealing with another couple's divorce in "Gone Are the Days" or celebrating a new role as an uncle in "Some Other Time (Avery's Hymn)," Greer is noticeably poetic and vivid, akin to Emmylou Harris or Buddy Miller. There's a noticeable Americana influence throughout, with liberal doses of piano pop.
The newcomer also scores some high-profile collaborators, starting with mixer Matt Odmark (Jars of Clay) who adds just the right amount of polish on the consistently earthy vibe. Ginny Owens duets on the perseverance anthem "You Came Pulling Through," while Cindy Morgan adds BGVs on the soft-spoken, childhood-focused "Remind Me." There's a lot to digest on this disc, much of which may pique a listener's self-assessment, but the end result is a theme of rebirth bathed in authentic and endearing instrumentation.
Others worth noting:
Jean WatsonEverything Can Change
Style: folk/pop/classical; Iona, Clannad, Enya
In a nutshell: Playing violin with world-class consistency and having the voice of angel are some of Jean Watson's best traits, but she's better off blanketing them over folk and classical motifs as opposed to an incongruent dance/pop direction.
David Yeager BandIn Your Sight I Am Sound
Style: acoustic pop/rock; Vigilantes of Love, Caedmon's Call, David Wilcox
In a nutshell: Tight musicianship and a rootsy acoustic sound highlight the foursome's spiritually-centered assessments of the paradoxes between the church and the world.
Style: modern rock; Sanctus Real, The Afters, Family Force 5
In a nutshell: While the driving modern rock side of Leo is fairly infectious and anchored in Christian truths (albeit somewhat general at times), the most exciting moments come during its dance grooves.
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Copyright © 2009 Andree Farias subject to licensing agreement with Christian Music Today. Click for reprint information.