Superb singer/songwriter Greg Mahan celebrates the release of his first CD since 2000 this weekend with two shows. Mahan promotes his new Thirty-Five-Cent Daydream Friday at the Southgate House Parlour (opening acts: Messerly and Ewing and Lines and Spaces). Saturday he performs at Rohs Street Café, supported by Uncle Smokin' Joe and the Solid Pack and Jack Redell.
Mahan's bread-and-butter is elegant, graceful and often poetic Americana music, with songs built around his sturdy acoustic playing and imagery-laden lyrics. On Daydream, there are some of Mahan's best ever songs in that style (the minimal title track and the slow-burner "Fireflies"), but the rest of the album shows that he is not limited to any one specific "genre" when writing. Calypso rhythms imbue "Mento" with a sassy strut, sounding like a weird mesh of Graceland-era Paul Simon and neo-Eastern European revivalists like DeVotchKa, while "Wink 'n' a Smile" closes the album on a playful, sunny Pop note. Producer Brian Lovely helps achieve a crisp sound that allows the songs to breathe and the musicians that flesh out the arrangements (with everything from strings to drums) perform flawlessly.
Thirty-Five-Cent Daydream sounds as good as any "Roots" album you'll hear this year, local or otherwise. Here's a prediction for ya — local NPR affiliate WNKU is going to play the shit out of this one. Other programmers would be smart to follow suit.
(Find out more at gregmahan.com.)
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