Unexpected Depths of Musical Style and Sophistication
Tuesday, August 1, 2006
Dave Crossland Pearl (Road Monkey RMCD5 (2006)
Although Cross-land has a reputation for having a deft pen with the lyrics, Pearl's songs reveal unexpected depths of musical style and sophistication. Sure, there's that diffuse, folky foundation that lurks in every singer/ songwriter's work, but Crossland peels that and the lyrics down to their essence. He then lightly seasons each piece with the help of ducky Carlisle, Mike Piehl, and producer Jim Infantino on drums, Marc Hickox on bass, Jimmy Ryan on the mandolin, as well as a drop-in trombone, trumpet, and pedal steel. With the exception of "Jennifer" and "Madison Rose," which harken back to the rock-infused Molly's Street, the songs return to an acoustic focus. "Cheap Red Wine" is a quiet, jazzy piece that would make Norah Jones feel right at home. The title track is crafted on a jaunty calypso rhythm, gently upbeat; it's a dead match for the lyrics. Crossland's songs are haiku snapshots with lyrics often so spare that listeners need to bring a lot of the personal experiences to the table.