Around a year ago, I picked up a CD by Jeff Talmadge titled Blissville which totally floored me. The first track was an acoustic piece called 40 Days of Rain and it has never left my head, for the first thing I thought when the first bar of Dennis Caraher's In the Rain was Talmadge. The styles, very similar, somehow strike a note deep within me and I respond. While In the Rain is the only such styled track on Radio Boy, it was enough to pique my interest and here I am, weeks later, still putting on Radio Boy between playings of Maggi, Pierce and E.J. and Antje Duvekot and Jennifer Greer and, yes, Jeff Talmadge, and finding it more enjoyable each time.
Somewhat of a straight folkie, Caraher steps out here and there to go beyond the genre and it keeps the CD fresh. Right Here and Louisiana Sea are actual steps beyond, in fact, deep reflections on personal and emotional matters, presented here masterfully with the aid of Chris Haynes' production and keyboards. Gonna Be a Cowboy is a nod to country music and an objective look at the future, career-wise. Kindergartner In Love captures real first loves seen through the eyes of the extremely young with the voice of maturity, if that be possible.
And Picture On the Fridge is downright funny, a lyrical coup, with lines like "Got your picture on the frigerator/That's a big deal/It's a real fine indicator/The way I feel/I'm not a good communicator/Honey, don't quit/Don't say see you later/Honey, you're it". A bit of Dylan with humor and a splash of Larry Norman's 6 O'Clock News.
To tell the truth, I may have heard better singers but only a few have been able to pull of the variety of moods and styles Caraher does here. It helps, of course, to have the likes of Haynes, Tracy Grammer and Jeff Potter in the studio, but in the end, it is Dennis Caraher, songwriter, who makes the difference. If I was a performer, I would look at anything Caraher has written—closely.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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