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MP3 Joel David - Blue Planet, Red River

Intelligent, biting lyrics interposed with warm, radio-ready acoustic pop/rock.

10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Acoustic, POP: Pop/Rock

Show all album songs: Blue Planet, Red River Songs

Blue Planet, Red River

Review from Rick''s Cafe Magazine (Madison, WI)

Style: Rock/Pop/Folk
Titles: Treading Air (2:42) Land of the Free (4:33) I Won''t Give In (3:23) Red River Part 1 (2:59) The Canvas (3:33) El Amein (3:03) Anonymity (3:42) Red River Part 2 (3:02) In Your Blue Sky (3:20) To Drive Away (5:04)

Musicianship: ****
Composition: ***1/2
Lyrics/Interpretation: ****
Production: ***1/2
Packaging: **** Total: 18 1/2 (out of 20)

Blue Planet, Red River is the first release from Joel David, who drops his surname of Brusewitz. It''s a pleasant and intriguing album of mostly mid-tempo folk and interpretive art that is by turns socially conscious and poetic.
David has enlisted some class-A backup on what would otherwise be a somewhat typical singer/songwriter outing, albeit a very good one. Blue Planet, Red River was engineered, recorded, produced and mastered at DNA studios and practically the whole crew got on board with this one. Monovox guitarist Paulie Heenan engineered the drums, which were played by DNA studio manager and ace sideman Scott Beardsley, while Heenan''s bandmate Cliff Hammer provided bass on a couple of tracks. Chris Boeger played bass on several other tracks and Marc Whitcomb assisted in mixing and did the mastering. The result is a professional and polished sound with David''s thick acoustic guitar and expressive tenor sitting front and center.
David also got a huge helping hand from his brother, Eric Brusewitz of Bruser-Hoertz Audio, who also plays with the bands Ladybeard and Beggar''s Tune. He plays guitar on several tracks, including a gritty slide on one of the disc''s only up-tempo numbers, "Land of the Free," and a beautiful mellow-toned solo on "I Won''t Give In." The latter track also features the vocals of Amelia Royko who adds a silky verse and backups on the chorus. This is done to nice effect as the multi-tracking of Royko and David''s voices lends the song a rich choral blend. Eric co-produced the disc, co-arranged the strings, did most of the mixing, and also plays a sweet piano on "Red River, Part 1" which accompanies the cello of Matt Dow. Dow''s cello is double-tracked and the contrapuntal lines give this track an orchestral feel. Dow plays on several of the tracks and this may give the reader more insight as to the general mood of Blue Planet, Red River.
None of these magnificent contributions overshadow the songwriting and lyrical skills of David. "Treading Air" is a beautiful track ostensibly written on an airplane. "Land of the Free" is spirited social commentary: "Men in black ties/Sell us white lies/You can see it on TV...." "El Amein" is an instrumental with a nice harmonic-laden intro and outro. The middle section is thick with acoustic guitars and cello and evokes an exotic landscape in the vein of Zeppelin''s "Kashmir" or the Reptile Palace Orchestra. "Red River (Parts 1 and 2)" and "Anonymity" seem to have a common lyrical thread running through them: "Taking back the stolen lands/To find out who I am," from "Red River Part 1;" "Trapped beneath the urban city/Find some ground to stand on...And turn to the spirit train/To find some release," from "Anonymity" and "As I look at injustice/As I beg at your feet/ And I drink from the river/The blood on my street," from "Red River, Part 2;" and the common refrain, "Blue planet/Red river." There are some potent messages here that can be somewhat obscured by David''s poetic style.
David currently resides in Baltimore and word has it that while he''s quite a runner as well, winning the Madison marathon last year while he was in town to track the album. Blue Planet, Red River can be a bit heavy and contemplative but it is also an eloquent expression of concern and love for a dying planet.

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