David Beldock and Peggy Watson are keeping the folk dream alive, and it can't be easy. In this day of the vanishing music venue, it cannot be easy to find places to play and, really, this music thrives on live. Sure, there are festivals, but festivals are seasonal and hardly pay the bills. The coffeehouse circuit is overloaded and street corners have all but been outlawed, depending upon the location.
There are lounges, but this is not lounge music though it leans that way on certain tracks. It is not totally acoustic, electric instruments slipping in here and there and I would assume that electric plugs would be helpful if not essential. Going electric is not an option because it would change the very fabric of what they do. Like I said, it's not easy.
Still, the more I hear Just Like You and Me, the more I think maybe it isn't as hard as I'm thinking. Beldock & Watson have a couple of things going for them that others do not. One: They are very impressive songwriters. Two: They work extremely well together. Three: Beldock is one hell of a musician. Okay, I lied. There are three. At least three which I will address here.
Let us start with One. All but one song is original, in this case a big plus. Take Watson's The One I Love. With its slight nod toward the south of the border, it is a beautiful ballad perfect for that late night balcony love scene in a forties' Hollywood flick. Other Watson-penned tunes embrace that same simple and direct style, relying upon melody, harmony and aura. Especially Wishing You Were Here, another perfect-for-films glance at love and loneliness. Beldock, on the other hand, is all over the place, bouncing from the almost Joni Mitchell-like Jesus On the Radio (Watson taking lead voice and doing it very nicely) to the light and jazzy Second Chance (with its spot on electric piano break) to the absolutely hilarious "Clone" (you see, this guy clones himself and... well, I don't want to give it away, but it makes me laugh… the lyrics are classic) to the quiet downer Down From the Snow. And they both write with each other in mind (It makes a huge difference).
Two: Beldock has a nice mellow voice which floats comfortably through the ballads and yet just as easily punches up the up-tempo tunes. Watson has a slightly higher and less textured tone quality, using its very slight vibrato very well. Put them together and they truly become a duo, Beldock's mellower tones a perfect fit beneath Watson's leads and vice-versa. One listen and you know that not only are they on the same planet, they almost occupy the same space.
Thirdly, David Beldock has the touch. His guitar playing is immaculate, whether it be folk or acoustic blues or jazz. His fingers are born to the electric piano (I wonder what he could do with a Hammond B-3), his electric bass is standup (that's a play on words, folks) and the banjitar? What the heck is a banjitar? I hear it, but have never seen one. Well, he plays it and it sounds pretty good.
Words. I know. They never seem to do the job. I suppose if you have to pigeonhole, Beldock & Watson would be considered folk by most, but let me add a few asterisks. Beldock and Watson are a bit more than the generic description, you see, and whereas folk maybe is the core, Beldock's musicianship takes certain songs over the edge and into adjoining territory, be it blues or jazz. He does it very, very well. Actually, they do it very well. Beldock does not exist in a vacuum. They are, on this album, Beldock & Watson.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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