Friday, October 12, 2007

CD Review by D.M. Wells (copyright 2007)

I had the great pleasure of making the musical acquaintance of Massachusetts-based Lenny Solomon with his “Global Warming Blues” entry on the 2005 Songs for a Better Planet compilation disc, produced by Toronto festival director and musician Brian Gladstone.

Although Mr. Solomon has a penchant for creating solid blues music with a lyrical social conscience, Maybe Today (2007) is a multi-flavoured, 14-song collection encompassing dreamily reflective folk ballads (“Maybe Today” and “Why”), dance-friendly country shuffles (“Spare Change, “Friendly Rock”), upbeat soft-rock melodies and rhythms (“When No One’s On the Run”, “Island of Misplaced Souls”) and fusions with a Dylan-like blues foundation (e.g. “It’s Snowing”). The mellow “Other Side of the Street” has a Tom Petty/Neil Young influence to it, and speaking of the latter, Mr. Young included Lenny’s “Let’s Go to Mars” track from this CD on his Living with War Today “Songs of the Times” website listing. It was #2 on the now-2000-plus songlist in September/07.

The fully competent Lenny Solomon Band is comprised of Lenny on lead vocal, guitar and harmonica, Don Barry on bass and vocals, Dennis Gurgul on drums and Bill Gibbs on lead guitar and vocals. Maria Breen and Leah McKinnon-Howe provide extra vocals on the aforementioned “Let’s Go to Mars”. These players are all experienced veterans who have gained the wisdom of playing music as a team rather than trying to outdo each other with their individual talents. This naturally leads to a thoroughly pleasant listening experience.

There are numerous songs that encourage repeated listens, particularly “The Flood”, a gentle but powerful ballad that features both electric and acoustic guitar-picking. The world-weary "It’s Snowing” and “Maybe Today” (the title track) are also favourites of mine.

Overall, the CD has a country-rock feel to it (with just a slight vocal twang) and an intellectual edge, to boot, so if that’s your musical preference, you’ll love this recording, particularly “Nashville Star” and the closing, live-off-the floor “Players in the Band” (care of bassist Don Barry).
To read about the Lenny Solomon Band's interesting musical background, visit their website at

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