Signature Sounds Recording Company
Review for The Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Jeff Wenning
Pete Nelson's "Restless Boy's Club" is not a CD you'll want to put in the player after that particularly hard day at work. This is one for those days when you feel introspective, old, or unloved, and you need to know you're not the only one suffering. Regardless of your flavor of fear, Pete Nelson has a song to feed your angst.
Listening to this CD is akin to flipping through an issue of Reader's Digest. It's "Life in A Nutshell," "My Most Unforgettable Character," "Amusing Anecdotes," "Life In These United States," "Personal Glimpses," "Points to Ponder," and "All In A Day's Work" condensed on a small silver platter. Like Reader's Digest, it's a collection you won't often want to go through in a single sitting. Individually, the songs stand on their own-they are a series of sound bites taken from life.
Norman. Alzheimer's affected Norman gets lost both figuratively and literally. During a trip to the store, Norman reminisces about WWI in France. Ends up in his car at the bottom of a swimming pool. Lost at Christmas, he's found in April. Weird, but......well, weird!
Remember Me. This is a piano bar tune. The story of a failing (or failed) relationship, it examines how things used to be and how they are now. With a softly played piano and clarinet, and backed by drums played with brushes, it's definitely not a traditional folk song treatment.
Mirrored Ball-The breaking of the shiny, mirrored ball in Grandma's garden is used as a metaphor to teach a youngster that all good things must come to an end-including Grandma.
Old. Discusses feelings of old age. Nelson muses about drinking in a bar with "children" while his buddies are home playing with theirs. He expresses his regrets about living a lonely life, declaring "It's time to face the facts, buy a pair of plaid slacks/and sit around like old guys do".
One Horse Town. Describes a romantic break-up that's impossible to escape when you live in a small town and everyone knows your business. The only song on the CD with an up-tempo beat to it.
Summer of Love. An incredibly lovely song about a fifteen year old and his first love, remembered twenty years later at his high school reunion. "When I was fifteen and a man of the world, I was madly in love with a Catholic girl. She had gray Irish eyes and the whitest of teeth and a body that left the whole neighborhood weak..."
Pete Nelson has an incredible talent for lyrics. They read like well written short stories. Though his vocal delivery occasionally impressed me as sounding like a child's nursery rhyme or Dr. Seuss book set to music, I couldn't help being moved by the intensity of the lyrics. Pete Nelson could be a Bernie Taupin waiting for an Elton John.
I had mixed feelings about the disc's production. The instrumental and vocal backings seem buried in the mix and lack brightness that would have contributed significantly to Nelson's compositions.
File this one among the interesting and obscure.
Edited By Kerry Dexter (firstname.lastname@example.org)