Denise Miller & Son,
Crazy Horse
(self-produced, 2000)

Crazy Horse is not exactly great folk music -- in fact I seldom found it to be good, for that matter. There are a few songs from Denise Miller & Son that work for me. Unfortunately they are all too few when compared to those that don't.

There are some positive things I can say about the music. The guitar play, the keyboards and the singing are usually fairly good. I am not so sure about the percussion and for the most part I could live without the effects. I will let you sort out the blame and credit on that one. The musicians are Denise Miller (vocals and guitar), Jon Miller (bass, lead guitar and vocals), Richard Tisch (keyboards and effects) and John Kern (percussion and effects).

The CD starts off on the wrong foot with "Dakota Sunrise." It has some neat elements but they do not fit together well and the effects just do not blend in. Things get better in "Living Out of Boxes," a simple song that tells the story of a young lady. The simplicity of the music brings out the strengths of Denise's smoky voice.

"Yesterday's News" returns to the style I don't care for and I find it hard to care enough to say what the song was about. The same holds true for "Ft. George Hill," "Crazy Horse" and "Great Spirit Wind."

Then "Waiting on Arizona" rolls by and it's too late to start caring. The song is OK, and if it had been earlier I might have enjoyed it a bit more. Not much mind you, but a bit. "Tides of Summer" finds itself in a similar position. In both cases the lyrics paint some interesting pictures, the songs just never pulls me in.

The CD ends off with "Stupid Cat" and while it has the right beat for some old-time rock, it does not matter much. I am left standing on the outside of the song.

Crazy Horse shows promise, but not enough to recommend picking up the CD.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]

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