David Elias,
Time Forgets
(self-produced, 1998)

David Elias has been all around the country after leaving north-central Ohio, finally coming to ground in the San Francisco Bay area. Needless to say, he has been playing his own unique brand of music in these places -- including a gig in Norway, making him an international artist. Lucky world. It is hard to stick a label on his music, which only serves to highlight his versatility and impressive talent. "Folk" at its most broad and encompassing might serve as a place to start describing it. The acoustic guitar is expertly played and is, several times throughout the disk, so masterfully handled that it will bring tears to the eye with the sheer beauty of the notes. Just as powerful are the lyrics flowing forth in David's just-right voice. The songs themselves are thoughtful, sad, provocative, fast and demanding. Like their author, they defy easy categorization.

"Straw Dream Intro," a musical number written by Elias, starts off the CD with one of those exquisitely moving pieces that dare you to breathe while the music plays. "Time Forgets" is bittersweet, sad and slow, melancholy and captivating. "Field of Wood" is also a lovely piece, picking up the pace a bit, calling for a return to sun from storm. "Afraid of Change" follows, returning to the slow, sad feel, but in another guise, another voice. The acoustic guitar again reaches a new level of beauty, and yet it does not overpower the lyrics, perfectly in balance.

The next track is "So Go I," a peacefully lyrical song that is a treasure in its own right. Exquisite. "Changing Circles" picks up the pace again in a ballad that feels like a John Denver tune without being imitative. Well worth a listen. Halfway through the CD is "Along the Highway," a definite speed-up from its slower paced, thoughtful predecessors. It is jaunty, happy, and fun. "Freedom on the Freeway" slows down, but only fractionally. The harmonica gives the impression of early Bob Dylan. It is bouncy and very enjoyable. Thought-provoking as well: "We're only here to disappear / you best enjoy that ride."

"Christmas Blue" is an unexpected jewel. It avoids all the traps of sentimentality and triteness; it doesn't even sound like a Christmas song. Is it? You decide. I loved it. "Take Me Down That Road" brings the pace back down to the contemplative, gentle pace of the early numbers. The words are as lovely as the music of that magical guitar. The next song, "Sunday's Daughter," is sad and throbs with an almost country beat. Elias has another winner on his hands. "Vision of Her" throws the brakes back on, leaving the listener breathless with yet another rapid change between slow and moving and fast and heart wrenching. It manages to be both moving and heart-rending at the same time. Elias is a master at knowing when to use words and when to remain silent to let the guitar speak. Nearly at the end of this altogether enjoyable musical journey is "It's All Out West," proving that thirteen is not always an unlucky number. The music is almost eerie, and the voice-overs are unexpected. It is a powerful piece. In a collection of truly good songs, it stands out from the rest. The last song is "Waiting for W," and the feeling of the music has come back full circle to that of the first songs. You will find yourself singing to it for it is that sort of song. It feels as good as it sounds. A satisfying end to a satisfying CD.

David Elias is a brilliant songwriter and lyricist. I suspect that he lists his influences as Bob Dylan, Dan Fogelberg, John Denver and maybe even Eddie Rabbit, but that does not mean that he is anything less than a uniquely individual talent that bears close watching. His songs are intense and yet subtly so, moving in a way that so few are these days. And the CD insert says that "portions of the proceeds from each Time Forgets CD are donated to the Montana Nature Conservancy Biff Schlossmann Memorial Fund." There you are, plenty of good reasons to get this fine CD: helping out the Nature Conservancy while giving yourself a treat. Enjoy; I did.

[ by Debbie Gayle Rose ]
Rambles: 20 August 2001

Visit his website.