My Middleman Burr cd arrived in the mail about two weeks ago. I've already played it about two dozen times. The title is "I Like the Sound of That". The MB website, middlemanburr.com, announces:
"August 25, 2015
NEW music!! Two voices, ten tracks and one brand, spankin’ new album. I Like the Sound of That. You will, too!
Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr have been singing together for a long time – on demo tapes, as background vocalists, and with Blue Sky Riders band – but this is their first album as a singing, songwriting, performing duo.
A lot of love went into this record. Listen closely, and you’ll hear it in the words and the melodies of ten original songs, nine written by Middleman Burr, and the tenth co-written by Georgia Middleman, Gary Burr and Phil Alden Robinson.
Track #2 is “Bend in a River,” a song that makes a lover’s promise…. If I was a bend in a river/If I had a map that was torn in two/If my train jumped the track/I’d still come back to you.
You’ll come back, again and again, to the music. On I Like the Sound of That, you’ll find the harmonies that warm and the words that uplift you. It’s a promise.
Georgia and Gary are truly excited to share their new music with you. Listen here, (Not here - On their website) and please, spread the good word!"
These two great singers have delivered on that promise so I'll try to spread the good word.
I'll add to their website comment on track 2 that "Bend in the River" has a sound reminiscent of 60's Motown, a la Marvin & Tammi and I like the sound of that. It's also the track co-written by Phil Alden Robinson with G&G. Mr. Robinson is better known for directing "Field of Dreams".
I'm not going to comment on every song because the album is so new that my favorites may change as I continue to listen. As I did with Gary's last album, "Juggler's Logic", I'll be giving my non-professional, senior's slant on the cd. It's great. There are no assaults on my senior senses and I can understand all the words to the songs which is important because the cd did not include lyrics and they're not available on-line. I jotted down some of my favorite lines to give you a better feel for where the songs are going. Here they are, some with a comment or two thrown in:
When I played the album for the first time, I didn't start with track 1. I skipped immediately to track 5, "I Thought You'd Never Leave". That's because it's the one track I've heard before - by Gary, 3 or 4 times at the Bluebird Cafe. I was hoping that someone would record it - like Gary. (Just like I hoped that "A Thousand Wild Horses" would be recorded and it was on the Blue Sky Riders debut album, "Finally Home". I saw Gary sing Horses as a Blue Sky Rider at the Nashville City Winery on 9/11. It got the most applause.)
In the first verse of Never Leave, we have a little leaguer who fails to hit whenever his father is at the game. He knew his dad cared but he had to admit that he was glad when he left to go to work. In the second, that little boy has just been dropped off at college - moving in day - and dad wants to take him for a bite to eat in celebration. However a cute girl drops by and dad decides that he has to get going. The bridge and last verse always get to me, especially when I haven't heard the song in a while. The tears well up I freely admit.
"Can't believe I ever didn't want you hangin round
When I'd give anything to have you back right now"
"I thought you'd never leave
I thought you'd be here forever, taking care of me
So I guess the fault is mine
I could have sworn we had more time
Cause I thought you'd never leave
I thought you'd never leave"
Some may consider this to be a sappy song (see my Sappy Song post of 9/29/08). I say you gotta love a song than can connect with your emotions. The song doesn't appeal to me just because I'm in my 70th year. I liked songs like this as a young man.
The following song, "Let's Fall in Love Today" (track 6) is a perfect mid-tempo mood changer to lighten things up.
"I know we're doin' it all wrong
Waitin' til the crack of dawn
but night time only lasts so long
And here in the light, it sure feels right" .... "so let's fall in love today".
And now, back to the beginning with track 1, "Be That Way", a rousing, uplifting opening act.
"this world will try and get you down
make you more lost than you are found
but this world will try in vain
as long as you remain
constant as a star
beautiful and brave
stay true to who you are
be that way"
I love the title track (3), "I Like the Sound of That", the sounds of their everyday relationship.
"The things that I hear are music to my ear
your sight, your sound, your laugh
they all say that you love me
I like the sound of that"
"You Can't Make This Up", track 4, is a funky followup - five years after they failed to connect because he was too slow (maybe he would have asked her "In a Week or Two"?), they meet by accident on a NYC subway.
Gary sings "I was gonna ask her out, she was the one, I just knew it, she got a job out in Colorado, so she moved away before I could do it"
Georgia sings "you never did ask me out though I was dropping hints like leaves in autumn".
G&G sing "nobody'd believe it, nobody would ever say it's true, nobody could ever find the one the way that I found you".
As a long time NYC subway rider, I could believe it.
In "Tonight I Do", track 8, the time is right to push cynicism aside.
"I never did believe in the power of the moment
When dreams just might come true
But tonight I do, tonight I do"
The last track is "This Song", a fitting conclusion to a great album. Hey, it's always about the song. It begins:
"This song is three short minutes of little words and major chords
This song is notes and bars and a few close rhymes and nothing more
"This song is an apology with a very simple melody
And I hope that you'll come back to me when you hear this song"
"so I pour my heart into it
put a steel guitar all through it
if that don't get you
I don't know what will"
G&G said that a lot of love went into this project. I guess that's what can happen - when the right one comes along.
On their next album, I'd like to see Middleman Burr record "While He Still Knows Who I Am", which Georgia co-wrote with Tom Douglas and Dave Berg. It was recorded by Kenny Chesney for his "Welcome to the Fishbowl" cd but after hearing Georgia sing it, I can't listen to Kenny's version. It's like I prefer Georgia's "I'll Have What She's Having" (written with Jimmy Melton) from her "Things I Never Thought I Knew" album to Reba's take on the song.