Jeff Larson “The World Over”
Initial thoughts? West Coast singer-songwriter cum country rock of the 1970s. Laurel Canyon and all that jazz!
Steeped in finely spun harmonies, shuffling percussion and on casting my eye over the album’s musician credits who do I see listed? First off Jeddrah Schmit (daughter of the Eagles’ Timothy B. Schmit) and from the band, America Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell the mould is set and album expectations fuelled.
It is most apt Dave Zimmer author of Crosby, Stills & Nash: The Biography wrote the liner notes seeing as the influences of the era are so potent. Larson’s warm, finely textured vocals have his own acoustic 6 and 12 string, baritone guitars, piano and harmonica plus those co-producer Hank Linderman (electric lead, rhythm, acoustic, bass guitar, keyboards and backing vocals, David Raven (drums) and world music giant Bob Brozman (National resophonic guitar, slide, acoustic, ukelele etc) help bed down the album and support his superbly crafted lyrics.
Larson’s easy melodic tones and matching melodies take the listener through a series of situations as on ‘Monday Clouds Tuesday Rain’. Where he states it isn’t the weather while on ‘One Good Lie’ he speaks of how it will keep your secrets too. Not a statement furnished with honour, but such is the melodious feel aided by keyboards, Schmit’s beautiful harmonies and Brozman’s unique extras the jigsaw is complete. So wonderful is the piece you can’t resist giving it another careful listen as immediately as it ends.
Linderman’s prowess (via a rock solo and general) on electric lead guitar is showcased on a swirling, Eagles-esque ‘Midhaven Getaway’. As typically tight, seamless harmony vocals aid his pure tones plus shuffling percussion as he strikes a chord akin to your Crosby, Stills & Nash of the 1970s. It is that good. Of a easy, wistful feel you have ‘Set it Fall’ and with Brozman kicking up a dust from the outset ‘Point Of Rising’ shakes up the album and then with more impressive close harmonies he diversifies (if fired up a little more you could imagine it came from Sonny Landreth!). It was needed since all too much of what had gone on previous had an all too ‘safe’ feel; here he allows the music to explode and not just tickle the listener’s senses! More please.
‘In Time’ sees a return to the mellow, wistful and sweet melodies and harmonies. Enough of that let’s move on to the final song ‘Reason To Be Near You’ that again is lifted by the musical presentation. Even if, vocally he remains entrenched in that of the former there is a more positive and creative edge and I like it. Larson has a good voice, writes good songs and if he pushes on from here (and keeps pretty much the same players) and allows the music be more adventuress then we have an album of note!