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Let me start by confessing that I was once a big fan of the
singer/songwriter genre, and especially James Taylor. I still have a
soft spot for much of JT's catalog. And I still find myself enjoying
a lot of acoustic music. However, everyone has limits.
While Gorey writes some interesting songs, his vocal style is altogether
too sincere and he sounds like too much of an over-the-top-sensitive-guy for
me to enjoy this record. The two tracks I liked most (or
disliked least) are "The Scarlet Letter", and the hidden 12th
track, "The Sidewalk Song". Both of these benefit
from being live recordings of just Gorey (on vocals and acoustic guitar)
and Audrey Ryan on violin. For some reason, he doesn't
seem to be trying quite so hard on these live tracks, and they've
both got a nice, warm feeling to them. The rest of the songs
are recorded with a full band, and his voice doesn't sound as comfortable.
"The Scarlet Letter" is also notable because it was recorded in
April, at the Cask 'n' Flagon, near
, and is an ode to the long-suffering nature of Red Sox fans, with
the heartening chorus "Hey, hey, hey, I think this is the year".
And indeed it was. Hallelujah. - Brian Mosher