CD How Strange It Seems [Digipak] (CD 7050693),
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How Strange It Seems [Digipak]
1. I Wish I Were a Song
2. It's Easier Without Her
3. I Can't Love You Anymore Than I Do
4. Just Like Today
5. How Strange It Seems
6. Where Do All the Raindrops Go
7. Heart Will Always Work Alone, The
8. I Must Tell You Now
9. Don't Turn Your Back on the Stars
10. I Just Can't Look Away
11. I Wish I Were a Song (Epilogue)
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): MA 76
Andy Baker; Joel Hatstat; Martin Kearns
Personnel: Brent Cash (vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano, harpsichord, drums, hand claps, percussion, background vocals); South City Voices (vocals); Shawn Megorden (soprano); Adam McKnight (tenor); Don Discenza (bass voice); Frances Beusse (harp); Kenneth Lambert, David Edwards , Patrick Ryan (violin); Anjali Lind, Sarah Park (viola); Nan Kemberling (cello); Erica Bass Pirtle (flute, piccolo); Aaron Gentry (accordion); Lisa Prodan (oboe, English horn); John Alford (tenor saxophone); Ray Tanner, Jr. (trumpet, cornet, flugelhorn); Geoff Randolph (French horn); Jerry Pharr (trombone, bass trombone); John Lee (piano); Martin Kearns (organ); John Sousa (acoustic bass, electric bass); Rob Silva, David Layman (hand claps); Erik Mason (chimes).
Audio Mixer: Joel Hatstat.
Recording information: Down In The Deep Studios, Atlanta, GA; Joel Hatstat AUdio, Athens, GA; Mill Creek High School, Buford, GA; The Bakery, Athens, GA.
Photographer: Stefan Kassel.
Arranger: Brent Cash.
It's probably not a surprise that the swooping and slow orchestral arrangement that kicks off How Strange It Seems could be from some prime Jimmy Webb or Bacharach/David-written piece from the 1960s -- or that Brent Cash's title for that first piece is "I Wish I Were a Song," which he sweetly and gently sings. Like his debut solo effort, How Strange is definitely an indulgence in a kind of pop that doesn't exist anymore, not just from one specific era but blended together into its own metastyle that's unable to escape the past and intentionally not wanting to do. The huge statement-of-purpose splashiness of the first song (which is also reprised as the last) almost overwhelms everything else, making it "just" easygoing indie pop with an understandably elegant edge, but it still works nicely enough, from the harpsichord breaks and Phil Spector drum beats on "It's Easier Without Her" to the piano-led "Don't Turn Your Back on the Stars." Cash's voice doesn't quite soar as much as it does on the album's signature, favoring instead the kind of tender whisper that suggests something rather than driving it home, though the contrast between that and the massed male choral vocals toward the end of "I Just Can't Look Away" become a moment of remarkable melodrama. The slightly more "rock" songs (as such) like the title track use electric guitar only as shading or framing for the main melody and performance, to enjoyable effect. There's also something perfect about the song title "Where Do All the Raindrops Go," a sentiment that works a variety of ways. The short instrumental of lush ocean-liner-lounge funk of "I Can't Love You Anymore Than I Do" is another fun nugget -- Chuck Mangione would appreciate both the trumpet and the wah-wah. ~ Ned Raggett
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Marina Records MA 76
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