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Greg Brown Link:

Greg Brown

Greg Brown
Milk Of The Moon

2002, Red House Records

For an eclectic musician like Greg Brown, folk music as a description doesn't do any justice to his art. Granted, he does center many of his songs around a cracked voice and finger picked guitar, but these are just the foundation of his multi-room house, not the whole structure. Milk Of The Moon may appear like an ordinary white streak in the night sky upon first glance, but it sounds more and more like a daytime rainbow with each successive listening experience.

The title cut is a sad ballad in the mold of Tom Waits. The Waits reference is an obvious comparison, since both men don't exactly have baby-bottom-smooth singing voices. But Brown sounds closer to the older, more sentimental Waits music than Tom's more experimentally-minded recent output.

Brown shares Waits' love for the blues, and this affection is conspicuous on the only slightly naughty "Let Me Be Your Gigolo," which summons the ghost of Howlin' Wolf to propel its lustful intensity.

Just as the moon provides a necessary contrasting light to the night's darkness, Karen Savoca's bright vocals counteract Brown's foggy-throated and sad singing on "Ashamed Of Our Love" and "Never So Far." The later is a sweetly intended song of devotion.

One is also treated to a variety of guitar textures within this project, from the Bakersfield twang found on "A Little Excited," to the sprightly picked rhythms of "Smell The Coffee." T-Bone Wolk adds keyboard elements, such as the swinging organ found on the jazzy "Steady Love" and the perfectly suited accordion on "Ashamed Of Our Love."

Greg Brown skillfully combines his folk roots with a restless artistic inclination on Milk Of The Moon, making it one tasty brew of musical moonshine. —Dan MacIntosh

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