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CD Review: Chandler Travis & David Greenberger: "Bocce & Bourbon" 

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Chandler Travis & David Greenberger

(2015, Iddy Biddy Records)

Songwriting. It’s a funny thing, a code that can be cracked any number of ways. Speak to enough songwriters and you’ll find more than enough methods. In the case of Chandler Travis and David Greenberger, the division of labor has always been pretty straight. The former writes the music, the latter writes the words. But the flow goes both ways, with a lyric prompting a tune, or a melody inspiring a new musing. Bocce and Bourbon is a compilation album, pulling selections from eight discs released over 17 years. But, in keeping with the duo’s ways of working, it’s also a new record, packed with eight numbers making their digital debut.

Greenberger is best known for his extensive Duplex Planet oeuvre, encompassing albums, books, magazines, and more, all built on the wisdom of the senior citizens he’s interviewed throughout his career. And Travis, an original member of the legendary Incredible Casuals, is loved for his passel of wacky NRBQ-like bands. All the songs here (played by many combinations of pickers) are delivered in Travis’ sweetly, beautiful, wholly eccentric voice and filled with his bumptious melodic sense, which can recall John Flansburgh, Roy Wood, or Jeff Tweedy. The gentle “When the Roses Shine in Picardy,” “The Strongman of North America,” and “I’ll Wait,” are witty, smart pop songs that linger longer than you’d expect. For fans of the Morrells and Jaques Brel.

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  • Michael Eck reviews Bocce & Bourbon: The Comfortable Songs of Chandler Travis & David Greenberger.


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