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reviews /  member album review
member content by: member
brett dennen
by: fingerchimp  25 may 06
rating: rating of 4 and 1/2

beautiful songs from the 6' 5" ginger paul simon
i recieved this cd as well as a card and a bunch of sunflowers from an ex-girlfriend. at the time i was not particularly receptive to any messages from her, whether in poetry, prose, floristry or indeed music. the cd (i misread the scrawl on the copied disc as brett denver) went into a drawer and there it stayed for some time. moving house recently i found it and had a listen and i was immediately struck by the phenomenal guitar playing, expressive voice and intricately crafted songs, and also the sheer life affirming sentiment running through the album.
in his own words dennen is influenced by bob marley (his melodies), bob dylan (lyrics and imagery) and paul simon (everything) and it shows. the self titled album is the graceland paul simon may have written if he'd discovered world music as a teen rather than later in his career.
what we have is a skillfully played finger style guitar with elements of calypso, flamenco, jazz, reggae and folk, backed with upright bass and brushed drums and dennens voice to the fore. he sings in a pacific rim twang belying his californian origins. his lyrics swing between optimism and melancholy and touch on the solipsism of adolescence, and possibly this would be the only criticism, and its not really a criticism at all. put simply dennen sets his own bar so high with songs like blessed, desert sunrise, all we have, and by and by (also the first four songs on the album) that some of the subsequent songs sound slightly weaker (although still much stronger compositionally than, say, ben harper or jack johnson). this is more to do with the running order of the tracks than the tracks themselves.
over all its absolutely sumptuous, beautiful, life affirming and quite unique. i would recommend it to anyone.

if you want to check some out you can listen to and download some tracks for free on his website and he also has a myspace site too. i cant be bothered to post links, just google it
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