Nick Motil spent a residency playing at Jimmy Buffet's Las Vegas restaurant, attracting quite a few ears before traveling the country's college tour circuit. His mode is folky country, well laid out, unhurried, classically oriented. Butterflies crops up as a mellow piece of wistful memory 'n regret with marvelous musical accompaniment, and the title cut has some very cool modernist touches, turning anthemic, a well-turned track that should hit the charts nicely if it can make its way through the traffic leading there. Cliché is the folkiest rondo of the bunch, my favorite tune of the CD, departing so well from the rest of the EP as to be almost a completely different band. Motil really knows how to compose for the charts, so I don't see how he can miss, except…
…except I can't figure out why I can't be more enthusiastic about it all. Perhaps because the offering is just the slightest bit too formulaic, a skosh too country, his voice and moods a tad monotonic. None of that quite fits, though, and sounds much too judgemental for such otherwise impressive fare. Then again, I feel the same way about the later Eric Anderson, Harry Chapin, and a number of other well-respected musicians who did quite well. I can easily envision Motil opening for The Infamous Stringdusters or some equally worthy genre ensemble, and the duet here with Tara McLean on Home is tasty as hell—the two fit really well as she goads a few new heights out of him—but something's either slightly askew or too formulaic to entrance the ear completely. In the end, it's probably a tribute to the guy's skills that I can't quite figure out what's nettling.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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