This review was posted as a comment by Barry Barnes, author of Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead. I thought it deserved a post of its own!
I’ve been following David’s musical development for the past 18 years, and I’ve seen him at least once every year as well as listening to his CDs. But I wasn’t prepared for his latest CD release: It’s a Hand Me Down. To me, he’s reached a new level as a musician and vocalist, and he demonstrates both in this solo album.
David’s guitar playing is at its finest on this album. It’s primarily acoustic but he sometimes uses multiple guitar tracks as well as looping, which has been a key feature of his live performances for several years, and he plugs in on a few tracks.
What surprised me most are his vocals. They seem to be even richer and deeper than in his earlier work. And I don’t recall much vibrato, which he now does beautifully here. Best of all for me, however, are songs like “Attics of My Life” and “Brokedown Palace” where he sings in almost a falsetto voice that is delicate, gently measured and spot on. No one could deliver them any better than he does here.
This CD is billed as an album of Grateful Dead covers, which it is, but it’s much more than that to me. In his liner note commentary, he says that after so many years of playing guitar, singing and writing songs, and being immersed in the Grateful Dead scene in many ways, these songs are delivered in his own voice. And they are. The songs do become his. They move way past being simply cover songs. It’s a joy for me to listen to this CD. It’s the most enjoyable recording of Grateful Dead “cover” music I’ve heard. In fact, the entire CD is my favorite of 2015.
Give it a listen!
(Ordering info here.)