Dave Crossland is a find. In a simple, supple, seductive voice he takes us on an incomparable journey through the front doors and back alleys of America, introducing us to a unique cast of characters and experiences along the way. His distinctive vocals set him apart from his contemporaries - he simply sounds like no one else. And unlike many of today's acoustic singer/songwriters, he has a true pop sensibility that is infectious, and could, if he plays his cards right, lead him directly into music's mainstream. There is a huge audience out there for Crossland's fresh take on the American dream.
Easy Money" opens Pearl, Crossland's first recording in four years. By the first few bars you are hooked. You can't help it. Beginning with the crisp, clipped notes of his 1949 Gibson guitar, and his gentle, accessible vocal style, you can hear every word of the lyrics. He tells the story of a young woman with a wide open future, indicating the road that lies ahead, waiting to be taken.
Pearl is infectious and upbeat. It talks about an interesting mix of individuals, who, one by one, gives up his or her old life for new dreams and new possibilities. Crossland shows us the way on guitar, with the added sweetness of rising star Antje Duvekot's accompanying vocals, and the incomparable Jim Infantino on percussion.
I love the opening lines of "Cheap Red Wine" as they trip off the tip of Crossland's tongue:
Pretty Little Feet is haunting and sophisticated, featuring a jazzy turn by Don Anderson on trumpet. Hard to Say starts out slow and sexy with a rock-infused bridge powered by Steve Sadler on lap steel guitar. Something in Crossland's phrasing and style evokes '60s icon Donovan in I Wonder. But it is Madison Rose that bowls me over with all of its hooks, catchy melody and rhythm. This one should go straight to pop radio. It hits you right between the eyes (and ears) with its effervescence and sheer joy. More Dave on harmonica, please!
Pearl is a jewel of a CD. Dave Crossland has found a fresh, new sound by mixing his singer/songwriter sensibilities with a strong infusion of pop that is hard to resist. It is one of the best recordings of this year, or any year.
Page design by David N. Pyles