If You Can't Fly

David Roth

Maythelight Music
18952 4th Place NE
Seattle, WA

A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By David Nachmanoff
(denachmanoff@ucdavis.edu)


Seattle is known for its "grunge" rockers who seem to specialize in angst and depression. However, there is much more to the Seattle music scene. If you are looking for music with an uplifting, positive message and feeling, you'll want to check out David Roth's recent release. From the joyful song "Everybody" to the title track, "If You Can't Fly," David Roth delivers some medicine for the soul. Many of the songs are ballads that tell touching stories, for instance "Dragon to Butterfly" (a true story of a friendship between a former Klan leader and a rabbi), or "Bake Sale." The album avoids becoming maudlin by regular injections of Roth's humorous side. Examples include exploring the dilemma of whether to have children (in "Kids"), and the challenges of a partner who's "decided to go back to school," in psychotherapy no less.

Like the old Dutch masters who only painted interiors and portraits, Roth tends to focus on the domestic side of life. He is able to use small subjects to address larger ones as in "John and Josie" (a story about a couple whose son dies of AIDS), or the bonus track "Meatloaf" (about the problems of being a vegetarian in a carnivorous world).

The recording is tastefully produced by David Lange, who also plays impressive keyboards throughout. Roth's vocals are mixed up front and very "close" - creating an intimacy that some listeners might find a bit alarming, but which fits his songs. His warm baritone is relaxed and rich.

With a string of impressive credits and three other albums behind him, David Roth's new CD is building on an impressive career.

Copyright 1996, Three Rivers Folklife Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior written permission and attribution.

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