Dave Nachmanoff,
A Certain Distance
(Troubador, 2000)

Singer-songwriter Dave Nachmanoff looks at the philosophical side of life and he shares that with us through music and song. I liked the expressive lyrics delivered in a kind of free-style by this modern-day troubadour. He sings your songs and my songs -- everyday people songs.

One sure thing about this CD is that Dave is easy to listen to. His voice is smooth and mellow, and he has a turn of a note that adds a lot of interest to the verses. He receives my blessing as these are real folk songs and real folk singing without the muss and bluster that seems to accompany a lot of folk artists who try to impress and end up over producing.

Dave has lots of emotional images. Lyrics like "A fresh cup of coffee in the morning. That's a good thing ... The way we can talk with our eyes. That's a good thing." He makes an ordinary morning scene become an intimate experience.

I like the subjects in his songs as well: a husband and wife sharing coffee in the morning; another couple where one stays home and tends the cat while the other's on the road too far away; friends who are no longer in his life; an old man who lives with the ghost of his wife.

The last track reminds me of protest songs of the '60s. It's a political tune that could become a non-violent battle cry. "In a country as rich as this one don't you think it's almost time/That nobody should have to fly a sign." Flying a sign, he explains, is slang for "standing out on the roadside with a cardboard sign offering to work for food or money." Maybe those with heavy pocketbooks won't be able to appreciate the immediacy and intimacy of emotion that is expressed in some of the songs. Then again, everyone understands loneliness and that's a recurring theme on the CD, as well.

The arrangements feature guitars, bass, some violin and piano. One interesting cut gives credit to musician/producer Don Conoscenti for playing the wine bottles, brushes on lyric sheets, and finger taps. The triangle, too.

This came in a great CD case. It's folded like a brochure and the back page of the lyric book is pasted to the middle section so you're not going to lose it, the CD sits in the third section, and a sturdy cover keeps it all together. Its design means easy storage and retrieval and long-lasting quality.

Thirty-nine minutes and fifteen seconds is probably just right for this. At least in my busy life it is. I had to stop and spend time creating a relationship with this one and my usual M.O. is to play music while doing other things. I think, however, if you have the time to spend with this type of folk music, there are nine vocal tracks and two instrumentals here that deserve your attention.

[ by Virginia MacIsaac ]
Rambles: 18 May 2002