David Malachowski has made his name as a globetrotting guitar slinger, ace producer, esteemed critic for the Albany Times Union, and musical director of Broadway-styled entertainment. Apparently, none of that has kept the wolf from his door, and, thus, the language this Woodstock-area Renaissance man speaks most fluently—as evidenced on his debut EP, The Secret Life of Colonel David—is the blues. Delta, Chicago, British Invasion, all dialects are represented here, deftly distilled into a haunting, rollicking, and transcendent 23 minutes. Threaded throughout this assured one-man show—Malachowski plays everything and wrote all but one tune—are aural treats and textures that set this collection apart.
Although the opener, “Jump Up,” conveys joy, with lines like “My baby makes me wanna jump up and never come down,” the heartbreak that carved the room for that joy is apparent in the first keening electric lead, sent like a Roman candle from within a funky bedrock of Levon Helm-esque drums and low-down bass. Acoustic-driven ballad “Day Is Done,” by contrast, shows the darkness of an imploding love affair: “I brought you roses while you were sleeping, then I turned around and you were gone,” Malachowski sings in his unshowy, hurt-drenched voice, leavening resignation with ascending guitar figures. “I’m Going Down To Newberg” is that rare rave-up that veers effortlessly between two different time signatures, sounding very much like J.J. Cale fronting Led Zeppelin. The Dickie Betts-style country rock of the instrumental “New Circle Ride” offers a breath of mountain air from a window rolled down on the way to a smoky, BBQ-smellin’ roadhouse. www.davidmalachowski.com