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CD REVIEW: James Purnell - Whippoorwill
By Dan Cohen - 07/09/2012 - 04:51 PM EDT

Artist: Jamie Purnell
Album: Whippoorwill
Label: Scruffie Munster Media
Genre: Folk/Rock
Sounds Like: Nancy Griffiths, Jonathan Edwards, Jackson Browne
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Whippoorwill, Southern Highway, Boy Next Door, Light of Day
CD Review:

It's summertime. Birds are singing, flowers are blooming. You're thinking of hiking to the creek to cool off. Perfect time for Jamie Purnell's Whippoorwill, a folky, countrified gift of an album from North Carolina singer/songwriter Jamie Purnell. The album's chock full of songwriting gems, from the happy-go-lucky title song to the Eaglesesque rocker Southern Highway to the plangent, heartfelt ballads that conclude the album. Boy Next Door is a kind of 'Bridesmaid' lament in reverse, a boyish best friend/nice guy wondering why he never gets the girl. You know the type, I know you do! Light of Day limns a dark night of the soul, pondering, obsessing, 'unsleeping eyes/unvarnished truth/unscrupulous deeds/of my untamed youth'. And a melody that explores and wanders like the singer's soul. A great song. Someone should cover it. Shania?

The production is clean and crisp throughout, and he's got a sweet, clear tenor with a sense of yearning to it. It felt a little forward in the mix, I could have used a bit more reverb on it, but these are quibbles...And I hate to quibble. Purnell's got a sweet way with a lyric and a wry take on the everyday banalities that make up a life. There's a great, novelistic portrait of a gal at the laundromat(Laundromat, natch), and a cute tune (Love Seat Wall) about all the crap that you don't know what to do with when you move. Or stay. Hey, it'll all fit somehow. You gotta love a guy whose performance credits include:

Co-wrote song “A New Day” and performed it with the UNC Loreleis, an all-female a capella group, for a marriage proposal, Valentine’s Day, 2011.

Awwww. Purnell's clearly a sweet guy. And (not always the case!) a very talented songwriter. Let this Whippoorwill bend your ear.

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