Craig Schumacher,
New Shoes
(Kari-On, 2005)

Craig Schumacher has a wistful and pleasant voice. He sings softly, never pressing, never getting insistent; his is a light jazz, calm pop voice that does not so much sell his songs as simply present them.

The songs themselves? Well, take the title song:

Don't care about no war
don't care about no peace
life is just a serpentine from your
ass to your knees.
Some got it good
others eating trash.
I've got new shoes.

The formula is simple: a list of things the singer doesn't have, followed by the refrain "I've got new shoes." The second verse repeats the formula with statements concerning religion while the third centers on money. All contain a series of negatives, followed by the positive "I've got new shoes." Some variation on the lyrical formula would increase interest, but none appears.

"Don't Know a Thing About Love" repeats the formula, twisting it so that the verse statements are the positives, followed by the negative:

I know
how to kiss
just put your lips together
and make a wish
I know
about romance
but I don't know a thing about love.

This time, however, as if Schumacher recognizes the formulaic aspects of the song, he adds a chorus that deviates from the established structure. That increases the level of interest.

Schumacher varies the formula, tossing in a couple of protest songs as well as a couple of character studies. Had he varied the formula more and varied his vocal approach, he would have had a more intriguing album.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Michael Scott Cain

8 November 2008

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