Jeff Tuohy,
Breaking Down the Silence
(independent, 2005)

Breaking Down the Silence lies on the electric side of folk, or folk-rock.

Jeff Tuohy kicks off with the driving rock beat of "Unaware" and lyrics speaking of desire. The pace slows down a bit for "Doctor Thomas," and the music fits the mood of loss and losing in the lyrics. The barebones sound of "Knock on Wood" lets the song rest on Tuohy's vocals, and that brings so much out of the words. There is a quiet anger in the lyrics of "Rob the Bank" and the music underlines the aggression.

The instrumental intro of "Serenade" sets the mood for an intensely real love song. The scratchy edge to the vocals of "Fields of Grey," fits the song as things come to an end. "Lindsey's Song" builds on "Serenade" and speaks of the small miracles of life.

There is beauty and pain in "Silence of the Spirit" as the lyrics swirl around one question. He builds up that question in "A Wishing Well" as the music becomes more subdued. You go from those to the driven goodbye song, "Brandy" and the music's tone underscores the sense it is sung from a point past anger but not into rage. You get to share a taste of a dream in "Often I am Permitted to Return to a Meadow," and it is good, just his voice and the guitar to paint the pictures.

Tuohy's vocals convey the emotions of the songs and fit into the music quite well. He plays the guitar and percussion on the CD. The rest of the musicians are Brian Takiff (bass), Dave DiCeno (drums), Aaron Z. Katz (synthesizer, Rhodes, Wurlitzer and percussion), Johnny B. (baritone saxophone), Andrew Gallagher (alto saxophone and synthesizer), Tom Thorndike (piano, B3 organ, Wurlitzer and clav), Barb Wiggin (violin and viola) and Jess Tardy (backing vocals).

The music on Breaking Down the Silence is often loud and always passionate. Tuohy has created a strong CD that could be called several different types of music. It is good and it is intense and it makes for wonderful listening.

by Paul de Bruijn
12 August 2006

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