Dudley Saunders,
The Emergency Lane
(Fang, 2007)

Los Angeles-based Dudley Saunders started his career as a performance artist; today with the release of his third album, The Emergency Lane, his reputation as a singer-songwriter has reached a point where some of the country's most famous studio musicians have joined him for the recording.

Saunders sings and plays the acoustic guitar and he recorded 13 self-crafted songs with an impressive lineup featuring Gerry Leonard (harmonium, mandolin), Michael Chaves (electric guitars), Stevie Blacke (cello, viola, violin, string arrangements), Cisco Deluna (accordion, dobro), Clive Tucker and Christopher Allis (drums) and last but not least producer Milo Decruz (bass, drums, programming and treatment, electric guitar).

Saunders has a warm and rich voice. Starting off with "Look for Me," he bewitches the listener with his hypnotic singing backed with fine rhythms and brilliant harmonies. The songs cover a wide range of styles from the melodic sound of the opening title to the classical strings arrangements of the melancholic "The Rain on 8th Avenue," from the rhythmic guitar-driven rock song "Take Me Back Home Again" to the psychedelic folk-rock of "Mushy Headed Kid" and from stirring blues rock of "Jesus Didn't Love Us Enough" to the a cappella folk of "The Wagoner's Lad."

My favourite song is the folk ballad "The Winding Sheet," a song about coal miners, with dobro, accordion, guitar and violin setting a great background to Saunders's voice.

Saunders has released a stunning collection of songs with his beautiful singing and excellent musical accompaniment. His music is an extraordinary mix of folk, rock and Americana-flavoured pieces with a bit psychedelic, blues and even jazz. I love it.

review by
Adolf Goriup

10 July 2010

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