MP3 Mike Meltzer - The Big Go-´Round
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10 MP3 Songs
FOLK: Folk Pop, ROCK: Americana
Mike Meltzer may be the single most frustrating person to write about ... ever.
Doggedly determined to be as honest and true to the facts as possible, he resists any attempt to hype, mythologize, or otherwise package himself for mass consumption. This trait is nothing but misery for anyone hired as his biographer, but fantastic for any fan of honest, uncompromising music.
Growing up in the suburbs of New York, Meltzer became fascinated with the early masters of rock n' roll such as the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Lovin' Spoonful, and Neil Young. He began playing guitar and trumpet as well as singing, playing with several bands in school. Eventually, other musical genres stirred his curiosity. The music of Motown, Stax and Muscle Shoals helped him to appreciate the depth of soul in rhythm and blues, while the stark candor of singer/songwriters like Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jesse Winchester and the books of Flannery O'Connor, Raymond Carver and John Steinbeck helped nurture a deep love of storytelling.
Eventually, he found himself at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music. There he expanded his musical vision, leaving Boston with a desire to take his broad palate of influences and make them his own.
Which brings us to the matter at hand-his stunning debut album, "The Big Go-'Round." Enlisting a stellar group of friends and fellow musicians such as Peter Case, Syd Straw, D. J. Bonebrake (X), Willie Aron (The Balancing Act), Danny Frankel (Lou Reed, Rickie Lee Jones, Victoria Williams), Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, k.d. lang, Dave Alvin), David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, the Alpha Band) and others, Meltzer has fashioned an album of amazing grace and scope.
Unlike the work of many worthy current artists, "The Big Go-'Round" courses along an expansive musical map-country, blues, rockabilly, soul and folk-not for the sake of fashionable eclecticism-but to more fully tell the stories at the core of each song. From the '50s New Orleans-style horns that elevate "Beat the Odds" to a spirit of pure celebration, to the string quartet that adds pathos to the astonishing "The Man Who Would Be King," Meltzer has created a musical collection of rare depth and musicality.
Other highlights include the haunting "Go Away," which was co-written with ultra-reclusive cult figure Milo Binder; "Wait for Jesus," a harrowing tale of child abandonment; the title track's buoyant spirituality; all capped off with the album's heartbreaking finale-the unadorned purity of "Damn Blue Skies" which was recorded live in the studio with a single microphone.
Put it all together and you have an album as genuine and straightforward as the artist himself. "I wanted to make something real," says Meltzer. Co-producer Willie Aron adds, "As we made this album, we bent our wills to the songs themselves; they were the real producers." In a time when everything in popular culture is artifice and image, Mike Meltzer holds up a mirror on the world as it actually is-electric, sad, scary and joyous-and he reminds us what an amazing world it is.
©2003 TMOP MUSIC all rights reserved
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