Chuck Prophet: No Other Love & Age Of Miracles
I'm such an asshole - read: "Music Purist" - that it's not very often I get to put on a CD and find myself, happily, saying "Oh My God" over and over again (it's usually an incredulous "Jeesus! These guys SUCK!" like I wasn't already expecting it,...) but two Chuck Prophet albums, No Other Love and Age of Miracles , made just that alternate reality possible. Not only that: this asshole was getting a "hello" from a Major Fucking Artist - singing like fucking Tom Petty - and this asshole knew it.
Blues, Rock, Country, Pop, Ballads, Beats, Strings, Harps, Samples ("You mean, I can get my favorite little rainbow sprinkles, for only $2.79 a dozen?") you name it - Chuck Prophet does it all. He strikes just the right balance, between tender and tough, and his production stays clean as a whistle - while he's, continually, taking chances - from song to song, phrase to phrase, measure to measure, and note to note. It's an amazing thing to behold. An artist in full bloom.
Of course, nobody's perfect, and Mr. Prophet is no different. For a guy that, basically, sings love songs, he does, occasionally, wander into sonic areas he's got no business (and can't get out of, like on "You Did (Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp" and "What Makes The Monkey Dance") but, with such an accurate aim, he, probably, feels he can, naturally, go where he wants - and hopes you'll just go with him - let him drive, y'know? You should. It's an adventure, he's a professional: he'll get you back home, somehow.
"Storm Across The Sea" is probably the best example of what I like about this stuff (a guy, unpretentiously, telling us about his spitfire of a woman) it's got such a mature sound - with echoes of Petty's Heatbreakers, The Beatles, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, and dozens of other classic artists, wrapped up in it - but without copying any of `em. And he probably writes stuff like this in his sleep. I don't know. But I'll tell you what I do know:
If you're a young Pop Musician, you better hope you're good enough to write "Automatic Blues" when you grow up.