Luke Powers,
Picture Book
(Phoebe Claire, 2006)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti once advised aspiring poets to listen to the folksingers because they were where poetry was today. His advice certainly holds true when it comes to the work of Luke Powers.

A Nashville songwriter and college professor, Powers is an original. A writer who follows his own heart rather than the marketplace, he writes about falling in love with the wrong woman ("Knoxville Girl"), the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper album cover ("Cover Song") and John Hartford ("Let the River Keep the Time"). "Mr. Yeah Yeah Yeah" is about a '60s singer-songwriter and is one of two songs that take on the music industry. These are fine songs, characterized by original images, sharp observations and strong hooks.

A fine band, including Garth Hudson of the Band, backs Powers, who sings in a deep, gravelly voice that is enough to make people who listen to pop stations cringe. His isn't a commercial voice but it has character and its own sort of strength. It is a perfect voice for these songs.

Luke Powers is a discovery. He deserves to be heard more widely.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

9 August 2008

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