Take Me Back to the Country
'Alex Walsh makes music the old-fashioned way -- warm and witty and straight from the heart.' -- Joel Selvin, San Francisco Chronicle 'A very distinct sound. Some of it kind of George Harrison like I thought. Some totally original in that I have never heard anything quite like it...' - Country Joe McDonald, Singer/Songwriter Roots Rock artist Alex Walsh has put out his latest CD entitled 'Take Me Back to the Country'. A collection of songs, that when strung together, runs like a concept album. The concept? A relationship--from beginning to end. A glimpse into the arc of two people finding each other but told from his side of the story; their hopes and dreams to the reality of living together, raising children and then what happens after the brood has left the nest. Pop music has always been the domain of the young and the majority of recordings attest to that. But now and then an adult makes a recording coming from the other side of true and endless teen summer love. This is the happily every after, some years down the road when as the song 'Drifting Apart' suggests: 'The dishes are dirty the house is a mess The laundry is piling the bills are distressed The landlord is calling, creditors too...' But don't get me wrong, this is not a bunch of songs that's going to get you down. It is the fly on the wall seeing it all unfold, both in public and private. The CD opens with the playful blues rocking of 'Making Sweet Love to You' where Walsh proclaims: 'Everybody wants to know who's been getting some of that'. From there this collection takes the listener on a journey through the ups and downs of a daily life, sometimes skipping back a few years to decades ahead as what unfolds is the story of a courtship, the wedding, the arrival of children, domestic bliss, slow withdrawal into separation and eventually looking back to where things went wrong, and maybe the hope of turning it around. On 'The Little Things' domestic life in all it's rich tapestry is explored from the point of view of the office worker longing to be at home with the family: '...Dental floss in every cupboard...Breakfast for two on an Autumn Sunday... Watch the girls play their piano...Take out your contacts and wear your funny glasses...' Then there is the gorgeous 'After the Wedding Bells', a song Walsh wrote for his wife for their wedding that asks the question: 'When the wedding bells are through, what will we have to talk about? When the children have all grown, what will we have to laugh about on Christmas Morn?' On each song Walsh is accompanied by his acoustic guitar with minimal but effective electric making appearances here and there. The instrumentation on the album ranges from full on arrangements with bass, drums, piano; to the additional orchestration of cello, violin, French horn, harmonica, mandolin and even a choir to flesh out some songs. On this recording he has also surrounded himself with a crack team of expert musicians, ranging from Jazz Pianist and bassist Art Ku (of Jacqui Naylor fame), to the surf rock swing of Taylor Still (The Lava Rats) on drums. If you are looking for comparisons to other artists then it might be difficult at first. Walsh possesses a delicate voice and at times his lyrics can be psychedelic, and at other times cut straight to the matter at hand. Stylistically, 'Take Me Back To The Country' traverses the tradition of American Roots music, from Blues to Pop, Texas Swing to African Hi Life, and even the Psychedelic. This is a recording made by a grown man for other grown people and anyone open to noticing the little things that make our lives rich enough to write about. -- Patrick Simms.