Royal Wood,
Tall Tales
(self-produced, 2004)

Canadian artist Royal Wood released his second CD, Tall Tales, in 2004. Sure, that was several years ago, but it is a good CD and worth checking out if you missed it back then. With a mix of folk, pop and some quirkiness reminiscent of the Beatles, Tall Tales immediately got my attention. In short, this CD sounds like something Nick Heyward might have released in the early to mid-'90s.

"Once" grabbed me right away. The main beat is bouncy while the melody makes me think of a small traveling circus marching by. They lyrics seem a little nonsensical, but they fit the music. "Well we all must pay the piper once / be the pie-eyed candy striper once / we all must be the lover once / be the hiding one under the covers once / we all must drain the bottle once / let our towers slowly topple once." If you follow that, perhaps you relate more to Canada than those of us in Texas, eh?

The melody of "Weigh Me Down" was once again attention grabbing. I like the guitar and cello playing. The piano rhythmically keeps to the background like gentle waves lapping at the shore. Again, I have trouble translating the lyrics, but I think the song is about the end of a relationship and the singer wants to be released, weighed down with love so that he, in effect, drowns (in a manner of speaking).

"The Scene" starts out with very mild piano. The volume sounds like it was messed up because it is so low. Suddenly trumpets blare and the piano picks up. At a normal volume you will hear some "bah-da-da-dums," while at the same time there are some vocals that are barely audible in the background. When Royal starts truly singing, he seems to be telling love goodbye again.

Tall Tales was written, produced and performed by Royal. However, he had some guest musicians help him out. Adam Hay played drums. Kevin Fox was on cello. Sarah McElcheran was busy on trumpet/flugel horn and upright bass. Background vocals by Valery Gore can be heard on a few tracks.

Tall Tales has definitely made friends with my CD player. I may not relate to the lyrics, but musically I quite enjoy this release. If I was in middle school, I would snicker and tell you to hit the website listed below to check out some Royal Wood. But since I'm a little older, I'll refrain. Royal has a good voice, writes good music (even when one can't relate to the lyrics) and has an excellent CD with Tall Tales.

[ visit the artist's website ]

review by
Wil Owen

24 November 2007

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