A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Since his 1987 debut on the A&M label, Dave Wilcox has consistently thrilled his listeners with his articulate guitar style and superbly crafted lyrics. His long anticipated latest release; EAST ASHEVILLE HARDWARE is no exception.
Recorded live, this album is a montage of previously unreleased songs recorded in several different concert settings. Wilcox's legendary concert rapport shines through as he includes the audience and listener in the music.
The album begins with a tongue in cheek blues tune about the frustration of commuting aptly titled "Blow Em Away." The song was written by Chuck Brodsky, a talented young songwriter and neighbor of Wilcox. It is a must listen for anyone absolutely convinced that all other drivers are lower life forms to be tolerated at rush hour. The title cut "East Asheville Hardware," recounts the near closure of a small store; run to ruin by the invasion of mega stores.
The real delight of this album is the accessibility of Wilcox's superb guitar playing. An aspiring guitarist can easily hear every note without overlays and dub-ins because on most cuts there is no other instrumental support. Wilcox's guitar playing is noted for alternative tunings and clever rhythmic configuration; and the listener can hear the tuning changes and musical nuance that can only be found in a live setting. The audience never intrudes - only enhances.
Musically the album is diverse; ballads, blues, an a cappella song and even a story. The ballads are sung in a rich silky baritone and are bulked up with excellent fingerstyle guitar. Although almost all selections are songs composed by Wilcox a notable exception is Bob Franke's "For Real." Its delivery is powerful and moving. Another anomaly is the parting cut; a campy late-night version of Wilcox's "Eye of the Hurricane." Curiously this last cut is not recognized in the liner notes and adds almost three minutes to the album.
Technically, the album is well produced. It comprises twenty cuts totaling sixty-three minutes play time. The editing job on the numerous live recordings is so excellent that it goes unnoticed, the listener feels a continues concert setting rather than a studio compilation. It is a delight to hear this music in its natural setting - live and laid back. Give EAST ASHEVILLE HARDWARE a listen - you'll be a lifetime fan.
[Editor's Note: This is a reissue of a review posted several weeks ago.
The revised review more accurately reflects the views of the reviewer.
FAME apologizes for any confusion and misunderstanding that may have