This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 1/01
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Write a few songs. Gather up some musician friends. Record a CD. Sounds fairly simple. Clay Greenberg has done just that--producing a pleasing, straightforward acoustic blend of country, folk and a touch of blues. But, outside of family, will anyone give a damn? In this case, yes. Because, in his initial release, Greenberg has compiled a collection of easy-to-listen-to and rewarding tunes that will deservedly find an appreciative audience.
With pleasing vocals that cozy up well to his music, Greenberg weaves back and forth between the lighter and darker sides of humanity. One of the standout cuts mirroring this is "My Oklahoma." Sounding at times reminiscent of Robert Earl Keen in "Shades of Gray," Greenberg paints a pointed and accurate portrait of Oklahoma from the time of the land rush to Tim McVeigh's horrific bombing in Oklahoma City. He sings:
"They could not wait to get there back in '89On the pessimistic, or some would say realistic, "I'm So Happy I Don't Have A Gun," Greenberg bristles, singing:
Lit out after midnight across the borderline
By the time the sun had reached its fingers 'cross the dusty plain
Ten thousand folks had settled in a place without a name
They wiped out every buffalo from here to Arkansas
And beaten back the red man with no regard for law
They suffered through the dust bowl days and winter's coldest spell
When August brought a summertime just like the gates of Hell...
...I don't mean to make it sound like I ain't proud, I am
I get back to see my kin as often as I can
But I cannot forget the way we tamed this barren land
With fire burnin' in our hearts and blood upon our hands..."
"Sometimes it feels like it's all gonna come crashing downThe relationship ditty, "The Poor Heart Blues," sounds mournful but contains elements of levity:
It's the lightning it's the thunder it's a storm but it don't make a sound
I used to feel lucky like I could not lose
Now I feel like a time bomb but I can't find the fuse
And the darkness brings nothing but time to reflect on the mood...
...I turn on the radio and it sounds like the world's gone insane
There's killers runnin' free can't even let our children out to play
Politicians makin' promises but they won't take the blame
My daddy told me, "Son, it didn't use to be this way."
When the sun comes up tomorrow is it really gonna be a brand new day?..."
"I put your pictures in the trash canAided by Guy Clark's crusty vocals, Greenberg celebrates home ownership in "The House Song:"
Your letters in the fire
But something's keeping me down in the muck and the mire...
...I've exhausted conversation from my family and friends
My therapist won't see me, I've come to my wit's end
Tell me why won't my poor heart have a heart and just let me be...
...All this pumpin' and a thumpin's
Gonna bust an artery
Where did Cupid learn his brand of cardiology?..."
"...Got my own little piece of the good ol' USAGreenberg will take you to some different neighborhoods throughout this release, some humorous, some disturbing, some informative. Always entertaining, this is a very enjoyable and satisfying release.
I can pull up the hedges, pull up the sod
Pull my truck up on blocks and jack it halfway to God...
...I can turn up the tunes and turn the lights way down
Pretend I'm gone when the neighbors come around
To my own little piece of the good ol' USA
I might dance around naked go from room to room
Talk to myself or howl at the moon..."
Greenberg, on vocals and guitar, is supported by Paul Lewolt on guitar; Vernon Thompson on guitar, mandolin, national steel; Aaron Sain on guitar; Jim Roller on bass; Tim McFall on drums; Loretta Brank on fiddle; Tommy Spurlock on pedal steel; Suzi Ragsdale on accordion; Jo-el Sonnier on cajun accordion; and Guy Clark, Grant Fowler and Stacy Middleton on vocals.
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