Jazz Tales Of Country Folk
Title: Jazz Tales Of Country Folk
Artist: Gerry Colvin (Featuring Elliott Rooney)
You can buy the CD Here
Loathe as I am to use the term “genius”, when it comes to the prodigious song writing talents of Gerry Colvin I’ll quite happily make an honourable exception.
It’s one thing turning out bona-fide pop-folk crossover classics with his usual band ColvinQuarmby, but quite another to create and produce a sublime collection of jazz tinged tunes that would surely have the likes of Tony Bennett, Jack Jones and indeed the collective Rat Pack beating a path to his door in order to get their celebrated tonsils around these songs of love lost, love gained, love lost again, revenge and celebration.
With the addition of piano player Elliott Rooney, this debut solo offering, “Jazz Tales Of Country Folk”, sees Colvin undergoing transformation from folk-pop balladeer to uber-cool lounge lizard.
Rooney’s beautifully refined piano tone heralds set opener “Blind”, and immediately conjures images of dark, smoky, 1950’s NYC – a place where Colvin would seemingly be right at home, cocktail in hand, leaning nonchalantly on a freshly polished Steinbeck, extolling the naivety of falling in and out of love.
Followers of Colvin’s work will recognise this as a familiar theme, and “I Wish” brings these sentiments sharply into focus against a backdrop of silky piano musings and indolent double bass runs.
As with may of Colvin’s finest songs, lyrical eccentricity is never far away. “Get Up, Get Out and Get On” veers engagingly into swing territory, a cautionary (and possibly autobiographical?) rationale for our protagonist to give up on his dreams – “You say one day soon your ship’s comin’ on in and then we’ll have a first class cabin, but we can’t live on fresh air ‘till then, so get up, get out…..”.
But this doesn’t detract from the quality of songs on offer here – far from it. In fact it provides a beguiling counterweight to lyrically heavier songs such as “I Killed A Flower For You Today”, with Rooney underscoring the macabre sentiments with some dextrous Hammer-Horror piano phrases, and Colvin allowing the dark recesses of a quixotic mind free reign.
Highlights abound, but “The Ninth Song” (yes, literally the 9th song!) is a sumptuously whimsical tale of satisfying failure, with just Colvin and Rooney sparking off each other, ivory embellishments trading lines with a clear, confident vocal, alongside a typically quirky Colvin lyric. It’s a song that really emphasises the very essence of exactly what it is that makes this man such an immense songwriter – in the finest English tradition.
I didn’t know what to expect from this album, and I got exactly what I didn’t expect! This is an album full of unexpected musical treasures waiting to be unearthed by discerning ears – it will make you laugh and sigh in equal measure, and the realisation will dawn that there is no-one else who could write a line like “I’m never gonna write a piano sonata, and I’m never gonna play Twister with Frank Sinatra”, and get away with it!
Genius ? Maverick ? Madcap ? Yes, all of these things…..and a lot, lot more.