I Can Still Draw Your Picture In The Dark
Normally, I don't get all gushy about music and such, but for the past several weeks I've had one CD basically on "continuous play mode" in every musical playback device I own (which, surprisingly, is actually quite a few):
Don't let the title of this solo debut album by Chicagoan-by-way-of-Florida musical nerd Devin Davis fool you into a false sense of expectation for some maudlin, cryin' in the basement sort of musical downer; quite the contrary. From the jaunty, surreal juxtoposition of Social Realism meets "The Music Man" pop references on the cover to the exquisitely crafted paeans to '70's power pop anthems contained beneath it, Davis nails the concept of the One Man Band for the 21st Century.
After spending more than two years literally single-handedly laying down all but a mere three instruments on the eleven tracks of this album, sleeping on sofas at the recording studio where he worked in order to be able to snatch the odd few minutes of unused session time, and honing each number down to a glittering diamond of musical and lyrical precision, Davis has crafted music that is so infectiously upbeat and optimistic as to make even the most hardened, jaded cynic jerk in surprise at the sheer exhuberant toe-tappingness of it all. Simply put, it's an entire album's worth of Summer Hits, all rolled into one meticuluously assembled, lovingly nurtured, ruthlessly edited, and irressistibly joyful package.
For all his single-minded sense of purpose, Davis' accomplishment could easily be pointing to both the future of independent music and the future of independent artists in general. Today, anyone can record their own CD, shoot their own film, stage their own play. Individual artists, compelled not by fame or fortune, but by the unsuppressible urge to create are out there utilizing every erg of energy, skill and technology at their disposal and pouring it into their vision. And with the confluence of a ready-made communication and distribution system, now anyone with a will has the ability to share their work with literally billions of potential purchasers. It's the Free Market without the middleman; producers selling directly to consumers, and Davis could become one of the first true breakout artists to owe their success directly to the New Medium.
Apparently, this CD has been slowly garnering both popular and critical praise all over the InterWeb, but even if Davis turns out to be a one-hit wonder (and one hopes for all our sake's that's not the case), then he - and we - can still be cheered by the thought that for the Summer of '05 at least, all the lonely people of the world knew where they all belonged.
And that's a very good thing to know.
(MP3 samples from the album can be downloaded from here)
on 10:08 PM