CD Review: Western & Atlantic EP | Music | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
Don Dilego, Western & Atlantic EP, 2012, Velvet Elk Records
Don Dilego, Western & Atlantic EP, 2012, Velvet Elk Records

Most flannel-flyin' indie roots rockers wouldn't last 30 seconds on "American Idol." Berkshires native Don Dilego, however, possesses a golden throat rare enough to wow the glitz-mavens, at least for a few rounds. That soaring, confident voice, loaded with beguilingly oblique lyrics, goes a long way toward placing Dilego's Western & Atlantic EP above the fray. The weeping pedal steel, Gram Parsons baroque hillbilly touches, and Harvest-era Neil Young chord changes all drawl "alt-country," yes, but Dilego's '80s roots show in the anthemic, U2-esque "Chicago," and the lightning-in-a-bottle Replacements cover "Here Comes a Regular." Dilego's nervy choice to record this half hour of music live-without-a-net makes every note crackle with immediacy. He leads his well-oiled band beyond "y'allternative," diving into reverb-drenched Roy Orbison-style drama in "Lonely Couples," and trippy, hellhound-on-my-trail paranoia in "Midnight Train." The latter contains one of many Dilego lyrical delights: "The stars are gonna fall, the lights are gonna bend just to shake your faith."

Lonely Couples

Don Dilego

Dilego's been releasing music since 2001, keeping things twangy and earthy, but Western & Atlantic EP offers a heightened sense of aural cinema, perhaps due to his recent scoring of the movie Ranchero. Like a filmmaker trusting his audience to pay attention as he pans out to a wide-angle shot, Dilego goes verité on CD closer "Carry On," recorded on the fly in a high-ceilinged ballroom, with glasses clinking, floorboards creaking, and an electric piano softly distorting. Dilego's angelic croon arcs into the ether, way above earthbound troubles and expectations. Dondilego.com.

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