Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stuck in Goshen

A Review of JRL’s Latest Album: “Now”
By Adam Fleming and David Stahnke

ADAM: “We’ve all got this… lonely…”
DAVE: “Nesssssssss.”
ADAM: Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, this album is primarily about expressing emotion through melodies and simple guitar riffs. At his best, JR is channeling Aaron Copland, and at his worst, Bob Dylan.
DAVE: And let’s not forget: “His Bobness” ain’t too shabby. I like this record. It took a few times of listening through but the album grew on me. As JR’s first official solo project it does well to capture both his strengths and sound.
ADAM: Yes, the live sound comes through as intended. Now, here’s what I’d suggest. Go back in and pick one track to add a mandolin, and another to add a female vocalist. Change two out of fourteen songs and you add so much dynamically to the complete package.
DAVE: Okay, but not so much that you lose sight of JR’s lyrics and unique vocal quality.
ADAM: Exactly. The emotions JR wrestles with lyrically on this album exhibit a deep maturity brought on by hardship. They say the best wine is grown in regions where vines struggle to survive. This is why so few people write great songs. JR does it at least four or five times on this album, and that’s pretty good. Personally, I know what it feels like to be “stuck in Goshen, Indiana.” With this CD, I can relate, laugh and cry together with JRL.
DAVE: And, if you attend a show you could also ask him to play “Free Bird.”
ADAM: If I wanted to die.
DAVE: I haven’t died yet. And I’ve requested that one at least six times!
ADAM: Yeah, I know, and you’re looking pale.
DAVE: Still wondering if you should attend a JRL show and put down some shekels for this CD? Yes to both. JRL is both talented and genial and not to be missed.


Jonathan Reuel Live said...

It seems wrong to me, somehow, to try to pull off Freebird by myself. If, however, I ever actually do a longer tour with Freeman (lots of frees going on here) we may just pull it out....


Joel said...

FWIW, I love the "loneli . . . . ness" (see, I can't be sure if it's "lonely . . . . ness" 'cause I haven't seen the lyrics yet; not that I'm whining about that). It's a beautiful thing, evocative . Not to imply that you don't like it . . . and certainly not to imply that it's not mockable. Indeed, mock that puppy. But, it's greatness. Like the Bobness. I want to add "like the Loch Ness" but that really doesn't make any sense (which, interestingly enough, is e-ness anagramed, in case you were wondering), or does it? Yes, I think now that it does:
"Many miles away there's a shadow on a door
Of a cottage by the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake."
Dylan and Sumner in the same song--who knew? Yes, buy the album.