Friday, September 30, 2011
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JIM CUDDY - SKYSCRAPER SOUL
Okay, I have to go back and apologize, since I'm saying soft like it's a bad thing. What's a better word? It's probably a very hyphenated one: pop-folk-Canadiana-balladeer. Anyway, you get the shorthand, Greg's the wilder of the two. Having said that, don't think Cuddy plays it completely safe. He does experiment, in his own setting. This disc is actually less violin-No Depression than the last two, instead getting into some interesting melodies and vocals, finding some lovely chords and changes to wrap those gorgeous pipes around. Ready To Fall is a piano-based, delicate mood piece with a trumpet solo. And Don't Know That Much is completely unlike anything Blue Rodeo has ever touched, a vocal tour-de-force that's like a latter-day Brian Wilson number, all mood. There's also an R'n'B tougher number, Water's Running High, again not something you'd expect from Cuddy, but as always, a well-placed gritty number always sounds good from him, in contrast to the balladry.
The track that has the initial chatter is Everyone Watched The Wedding, which takes its title from the recent Royal nuptials. Thankfully, it's not as saccharine as that, and actually has a good tale in it, a guy taking stock of all the people in his life, the troubles they have, and how it all looked so perfect on TV in that fairy-tale existence. It's a great narrative. I have more problems with the title cut, a clunky metaphor, one of those ones that sounds better than it is: "I got a skyscraper soul/There's mud in my veins and there's steel in my bones." I don't even know what that means. But thankfully, it's a rare misstep, and as usual there's lots of touching lines and a few special moments. He'll have to drag out something rocky from the old albums to liven up the tour this fall, but he's already laid the tender trap for the fans.