Anthony da Costa,
Typical American Tragedy
(independent, 2008)

Anthony da Costa has it all. He plays beautifully, sings well and writes brilliant songs. He knows how to produce a record, dressing his songs up for maximum effectiveness, and he knows enough to bring in gifted musicians and producers to help him.

The result is one of the best folk albums of the year, given to us by a kid who is all of 17 years old.

Da Costa might be young, but he has what you might call an old soul. His songs, mostly about longing and the need for connection, offer insights into people and convey a maturity far beyond his years. In the opening cut, "Ain't Much of a Soldier," the speaker in the song, a young serviceman, tells the girl he loves that he does not want to be a soldier and die for his country in some foreign land, although he would die for her today. It's a touching song, brought to its full impact by Abbie Gardner's harmony singing and dobro. "Dolly & Porter" is about the way the singer wants a relationship like that between Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton back in the old days (before da Costa was born) when Parton was a regular on Wagoner's TV show.

"Upstate Living" brings a humorous note to the disc; in it, the singer discusses how he wants to live quietly upstate with the girl he loves.

Forget the fact that da Costa is so young. Don't think of Typical American Tragedy as a fine album by a kid. It's a CD any artist would be proud of and one that should be in every collection.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

16 August 2008

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