Americana singer-songwriter Jeff Crosby (Idaho-raised) is a powerful and intelligent act. Able to tug at one’s heart and ease into one’s thinking at a heartbeat. Lyrically hooky “Best $25 I Ever Spent” comes rushing through the gates like an animal fleeing, an attacker looking for big game. Crosby was in Taganga, Magdalena Columbia when he wrote the song, and with its warm spacious feel epitomizes the location.
With the likes of a more than just handy, “Everything Will Change” and the less energised, but arguably a great deal more powerful and substantial lyrically. This as he speaks of his living hell on “Full Moon On Sunset”, and ticks all the boxes while doing so. The busy, world-traveled musician reflects on life in neither a distinctively happy or sombre fashion.
Like with another fine, erstwhile singer-songwriter Chuck Brodsky he plunders the vaults for material on small-town America (he grew up in one) and with a rich timbre to his voice he nails “Sunrise Over Iceland” (for Lois). Plus you have “Cold Summer”, and with likewise a progressive, probing feel as he flies higher than an eagle, “Beautiful And Strange”. This as he offers a hunger to move on, while on slowing the tempo to a pace where every nuance and lyric is left bare and counts “Hearts Too Heavy” is a true marvel. Warmed in harmony vocals, piano his studious tones carve a niche in one’s heart.
“What Stories, What Light” is a steel and acoustic guitar country styled affair; with its loping gait it lends a variation to the album. Nice it is too. Another to break forth, even more so is the free flowing “Everything Will Change” (another that showcases the richness and depth to his vocal delivery, and where the music hails) as he cleverly juggles the tempo and direction of the material content.
As for closing track, “Hotel Bibles” underlines the saying of how sometimes the best is kept till last. Crosby is guilty as charged. The song is brilliant! Worthy of the admission fee in itself. Steeped in angst and earthy tones here is a song people would be advised to check-out in terms of covering, and at the same time realise they would need to be super-human to equal never mind upgrade the original
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