Uncle Dave Huber,
Uncle Dave Huber
(independent, 2005)

Uncle Dave Huber isn't the first singer-songwriter to wish he'd been born Bob Dylan. He's not even the first to try and make up the difference, drawling out his "Talkin' Orange Sunshine Explosion Blues" or "Hard Times in Baltimore Town" with a nasal delivery and social consciousness to make Dylan himself think he'd misplaced a track or two off an album in the '70s.

But it does seem a waste, hearing Huber sweat and sing his way toward another man's sound, when he could be doing just fine on his own. His original work suffers from the paradox of imitation, intentional or not, so that Huber sounds most himself on the traditional tracks of his album. When he moseys on down the river for "The Crawdad Song" or slides into the ocean to "Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me," his voice turns deep and muddy. He paints "In the Pines" as dark fairytale in purple and red, something to make the Brothers Grimm lock their doors. And when he tells the story of the "1913 Massacre," a tale of labor strife and Christmas cheer stolen away, Huber's voice takes on the stunned pain of an eyewitness survivor.

In those moments when he can't help sounding like himself, Uncle Dave Huber reveals himself to be a true storyteller, a natural born balladeer. It's a rare gift that puts him second to none, and makes him well worth hearing.

by Sarah Meador
9 September 2006

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