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I Just Love a Good Batch of Lyrics ...

December 16, 2011 - Phyllis Sigal
Being a word person, my favorite music genre has always been folk. I can sit and listen to a singer with a guitar and a good batch of lyrics for hours.

Back in the day, the first floor of the downtown Wheeling club Tin Pan Alley was my favorite, when singer-songwriters would take the small stage for the evening. I didn't need to venture up to the disco floor or to the jazz room too often.

Jackson Browne, Harry Chapin, Shawn Colvin, David Crosby, Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg, John Gorka, Arlo Gurthrie, Don Henley, Billy Joel, Carol King, Kenny Loggins, Randy Newman, Shawn Phillips, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Suzanne Vega, Warron Zevon — these are just some of the names you'd see in my playlist favorites.

Another singer-songwriter, not as well known perhaps, but who has just come out with a new album is Vance Gilbert.

He first came to my attention many years ago because of his song about an old VW Beetle:

"Face pressed up against /The windshield y'all/Leg room must have been/An afterthought/Cause when you're sitting in the back seat/Soon you'll find/You gotta get out just to/Change your mind"

Of course, being a VW Bug owner and aficionado, the song was right up my alley.

As a person attracted to all things dragonfly, I was taken by the song title, "Dragonfly Wings," from his new album, "Old White Men."

"You believe you're the king of everything, with your dragonfly wings ..."

The album's a good mix of folk, blues and jazz.

"Helpless Man" has some great jazzy, horns as does "No One Can Love You Like Mary," while the bluesy "Old White Men" and "The Brakeman's Son" tell good tales.

The story in "New Year's Day at the Lion's Head Hotel — Hourly Rates" is amusing in a sad sort of way, while "My Bad" is just plain funny, and "King of the Rails" is on the melancholy side.

I love the acoustic version of the old Hall and Oates' song, "Sara Smile"

Take a listen to "Old White Men," and you can catch Vance Gilbert in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, at Bikerman's House in PIttsburgh.


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