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My introduction to Robert Capowski's new album
came as I was speeding down the highway to Thanksgiving, entrenched in falling snow, sleet, and rain. The gulf between the music and the circumstance could not have been grander, as there is absolutely nothing rushed or frantic about these 12 songs. To hit it home, the first words on the album are "Got nothing but time to kill." Each word and note is laid out with fireside patience and warmth, while heart-wearing sleeves follow melodic guitar lines that are engaging and deliberate. The lyrics articulate first-person depth and alternate with a distant feel of third-person storytelling, and Capowski's soothing and strong voice and welcoming guitar just add whipped cream to the pumpkin pie.
All the album's standouts have a stark mix of sadness and hope, flowing slowly and measured and taking the exact amount of time necessary with the exact amount of necessary instrumentation to make the point. Sometimes there is just bass accompaniment—which is stellar, and provided by area resident Sara Lee (Gang of Four, B-52s). Quite an achievement of restraint in this self-indulgent world of have-it-all multitracking and have-at-it plug-ins. "Less is more" can take a lifetime to master, and it appears that Capowski, who has relocated to his native Hudson Valley, has paid his dues. Beautiful, languid folk from a guy singing about the ocean blue and lost loves with nary a self-conscious bone in the body.
"My Green World" by Robert Capowski
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