Al Rose,
My First Posthumous Release
(Monkey Holding Peach, 2008)

The music on Al Rose's My First Posthumous Release covers a range of sound, sometimes folk or the blues, at other times country or bluegrass. And while there are unifying strands that run through the music, there are also thematic links that run through the songs. And it is both sets of connections that makes the album as good as it is, when added to the skill of the musicians involved. Parts might take a bit to get used to, but once you are they are very good indeed.

The whisper edge of the singing for "Down the Mississippi" is matched by the muted music, the song switched to spoken word for one verse. With a title like this, "My First Posthumous Release," it would be hard not to be absurd, and thankfully Rose doesn't try to be anything else. Horns set the tone of "I'm Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone," which ties in thematically to the previous song. (Not sure how it managed to be missed on the listing on the back of the CD, though.)

The verses of "All the Trains are Gone" are spoken and the percussion helps drive the tempo during the chorus. Rose returns to the whisper-sung style of delivery in "The Miracle of Pain" with the piano underscoring the words. The guitars set the tempo and tone of "Luck & Circumstance Blues" sliding it to a hard-driven blues song. The vocals come to the fore in setting the tone and tempo of "Infectious Smile," which stays in the blues, if not the same drive.

The tempo picks back up for "Haiku Blues (neither/nor)" and while the lyrics drift on the stranger side of things, the pacing suits them. "Guilty Pleasure" has the feel of a lullaby, although it may not be a song you would ever use as one. The sound of "Mud on Mud" leans more towards bluegrass.

From there the tone shifts to country in "Ruby Shade" as another dark story unfolds in the lyrics. The music in "Soft Core Hope" brings the song to a more hopeful tone, as the singing also adds to that. The CD closes off with the gentle strains of "Half a Waltz," which serves as an excellent close to the night, winding things down.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Paul de Bruijn

18 December 2010

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