Terry Quiett, |
"Miles to Go," the opening track to Terry Quiett's second release, introduces the dark, yet hopeful, themes prominent in Quiett's compositions. However, the music belies the somber imagery ("History is a madman whose speech is circling this carcass called denial," "We're not falling through mere cracks but gaping holes.") and gives it an upbeat hint. In a David Gray sort of way, Quiett's voice crescendos up the scale and through bridges to create a sense of longing. It's as if to say that all truly is not in despair; it may seem discouraging, but there is possibility.
Other songs have the same feel. The bluesy "Trying to Get Mine" sounds as if it's going to start off as a sad country number. However, with some electric guitar licks and a constant drumbeat, it becomes an encouraging singer-songwriter style ballad despite its downcast lyrics about the difficulties of trying to make it, to try to go beyond living from paycheck to paycheck. The opening grand piano notes (played by Quiett's co-producer, identified only as Gooding) on "Am I Wrong?" hastens feelings of fear and gloom, but once again, Quiett's incredible ability to use crescendo to develop fuller emotions keeps the song from sinking too deep in the mire of emotional despair. The song becomes desperate introspection rather than simple accusation. "Chasing Air" maintains some of that sense of desperation, but this time it's linked with indignation and the beginnings of confidence.
Not all of Quiett's selections on this CD show him balancing between despair and cautious optimism. Some demonstrate outright elation. He feels love on "I Will" and "A Heart Melting." "The Women I Know" breaks his own trends with a quasi-reggae beat and almost disjointed lyrics about the women in his life: "One she run acoustic show, One she move to Ohio, One she hide her libido, One she like DiCaprio, oh no, oh no." Sheer exhilaration from the joy of love breaks through on the radio friendly "She's on Top of the World."
With all of the numerous CDs released each year, it's tricky for a relative newcomer without major label support to break into radio airplay and find success -- the sort that the narrator of "Trying to Get Mine" so dearly wants. However, perhaps JoyRide will open some more doors for Quiett, a singer-songwriter with a strong emotional and vocal range.
[ by Ellen Rawson ]