Buddy Mondlock has been kicking around the contemporary acoustic music scene since Guy Clark first heard him sing at the 1986 Kerrville Folk Festival. Clark mentored him and collaborated with him on several songs over the years. Mondlock's songs have been covered by Nanci Griffith, Janis Ian, David Wilcox and Garth Brooks. But he has only a handful of recordings to his name.
The Edge of the World is Mondlock's fifth recording, and his first solo effort since completing Poetic Justice in 1998. In 2002 he collaborated with Art Garfunkel and Maia Sharp on a recording called Everything Waits to be Noticed on the EMI/Manhattan label.
The new CD opens with When I was a Little Kid, a nostalgic look back at childhood and its memories. Mondlock has a beautiful tenor voice which draws us back to an earlier place and time, before the large shopping malls took over the landscape, and "the world was full of mystery/god and space and time."
The title cut, The Edge of the World, skillfully paints a portrait of a relationship in crisis, where the lovers are not sure where they will land as they are "floating over goodbye and hello." Mondlock beautifully evokes a sense of uncertainty and indecision balanced by a degree of optimism. There is no bitterness here—just the looking ahead toward an unknown future.
The Skin is an unabashedly sensual celebration of touch. The melody is simply beautiful, and coupled with Mondlock's lovely tenor and skilled guitar playing, you just don't want it to end.
Mud, co-written with 2007 Grammy nominee Guy Clark, is a celebration of the natural world, and in some ways acts as a bookend to the album opener, When I was a Little Kid, as it brings you back to your childhood years.
Big Fish, Shallow Water is a fun, beautifully written tune by Mondlock about the Texas Gulf Coast's Refugio County.
There's a wonderful gem of a song here called Cowboys Born Out of Their Time, written by Tom Dundee. It's the only cut on the CD that Mondlock did not have a hand in writing. And I suspect that Mondlock may have recorded the song in tribute to Dundee, who died last year.
All I knew about Buddy Mondlock before I chose to listen to and review his new CD was that he had a reputation as a great songwriter whom others sought out to cover his songs. But now I know him as a wonderful singer and storyteller as well. I hope that he does not let another seven years roll by before recording his next CD. I think Mondlock is one of the greats on the contemporary music scene. And I hope that he has many more songs to write and stories to tell.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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