A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Rick Russell
Doug Haywood has a great voice. If you look through your old Jackson Browne albums from the 1970's, you will see that he played bass and provided background vocals for some of Browne's most memorable music from that time. With Nevada, Haywood has put together an album that features his own songs and which borrows the talents of some of the best sidemen (and women) west of the Mississippi. On this CD, you will hear many of the same people who helped define the sound of mid-70's country-folk-rock, including Bob Glaub on bass, Hal Blaine on drums, Craig Doerge on piano, and Jennifer Warnes on background vocals.
With the exception of one song, all of the tunes on Nevada were either written or co-written by Haywood and, judging from some of the copyright dates, many of them were written in the 70's and 80's. In fact, only four of the eleven cuts were written in the 90's. Herein lies the weakness of this album. In some places, the CD has a very "dated" feel to it. Lyrics that may have touched us in our youth now seem maudlin (eg. "she feeds me wind and water, which are tears that she must cry, to know that I will flow into the ocean when I die" or "dream within a dream, I am in between, everyone must dream within a dream").
Unfortunately, the songs written more recently do not fare much better. Haywood seems to be trying to climb aboard the Nashville "country" music bandwagon with songs such as Dream Again and I'm An Intellectual Now. These songs are performed perfectly and are crafted in such a manner as to not intrude on one's intelligence. In short, they are tailor-made for AM country radio today.
The average listener who enjoyed Doug Haywood's work with Jackson Browne in the 70's will probably be disappointed with his more recent efforts. People who like countrified expressions such as "dern" for darn, and "learnin' never did anybody harm", however, may find this album interesting. I found it to be a very well-performed collection of unmemorable songs by some of the very best of today's musicians.
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Edited by Kerry Bernard