Candy Shower (Troubador 003)
The title song of Dave Nachmanoffs latest album could serve as a great lesson for songwriters on the use of extended metaphor in a lyric. Set to a soulfully propulsive rhythm, the writer gets full mileage out of the symbology of confection, contrasting the plight of the sincere songwriter with those hitmakers concocting commercial ear candy for the masses.
This album is no ear candy - both the music and lyrics are of a consistently high quality, and these songs are solidly constructed. The bridge of Candy Shower is as crafty in its use of the melodic tension release dynamic as are most radio songs, while staying within the realm of heartfelt, inspired songwriting. Not only did Nachmanoff capture genuine inspiration in the writing of this song, he also succeeded in translating it directly to a record without obscuring that vitality. With only the simple framing of pristine fretless bass, percussion and a wonderfully rhythmic acoustic guitar part, Nachmanoff is free to propel the Iyrics with a delivery both biting and assured.
Nachmanoff, whose day job is teaching philosophy, brings his knowledge of that subject to Descartes In Amsterdam, crafting a haunting story song around the real life details of this philosopher who was known to escape the whirlwind of Paris by taking extended Amsterdam holidays. Dry River Valley is an even more extreme tale of isolation - the story of a guy who lives alone in his own desert town. Evoking this desolate solitude, there are no other musicians on this track, only Nachmanoffs singular voice and piano playing.
A highlight is Kindred Spirits, which recounts the story of Nachmanoff meeting the legendary Elizabeth Cotten, the writer of Freight Train. Few lines better sum up the truth of Pete Seegers famous statement All songwriters are links in a chain than this one from the songs chorus: Over 70 years apart, but we were singing from the heart, like two kindred spirits in the night. Not only is this a touching tribute to the great Cotten, but also to the lasting legacy of folk music itself, which links kindred spirits of all ages.PZ