Dan Reeder,
(Oh Boy, 2006)

This is folk and blues at its most rustic, its most primitive.

Dan Reeder sings with a rough, homespun voice and accompanies himself on rough, homemade guitars and a few other instruments. His lyrics -- and all but one song on Sweetheart, a stripped-down version of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale," is a Reeder original -- are likewise simple, straightforward and quirkily original.

Take "Waiting for My Cappuccino," an a cappella song featuring Reeder's voice, layered three times, as he laments the many years he's spent sitting and waiting for his coffee order to arrive. "You'll Never Surf Again" is a heartbroken lament upon receiving word from his doctor that his wave-riding days are over. "Shoot Me to the Moon" figures that, since he can't go home and he can't stay here, he might as well just disappear.

"I Drink Beer" is one of my favorite tracks on this album.

Reeder has a touch of the loner in his soul, as evidence by songs like "I Don't Really Want to Talk to You" and "Just Leave Me Alone Today." He's also got a bit of a leer and grin, shown best in the bluntly titled "Pussy Titty" and "Pussy Heaven," as well as his "Cowboy Song," which is less about punching cows and more about choking chickens, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

His words are more startling for their simplicity; the thought "Hey, why didn't I think to write that down?" comes unbidden throughout this CD. Listen closely to "Beautiful" and consider how beautifully direct this love song is.

Even his CD comes packaged simply; the inclusion of lyrics, however, would have been a worthy indulgence.

Reeder is a Louisiana native, educated in California and living in Germany. His art (check out his website) seems to mean as much to him as his music, and his instrument-making is a nice combination of each.

Sweetheart makes for particularly nice listening on a hot summer day, with the sun going down and air turning losing its afternoon edge. This music goes well with a big glass of lemonade or a frosty pint of lager -- and a rocking chair would not go amiss. Lie back and take 'er easy for a spell.

by Tom Knapp
19 August 2006

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