CD REVIEW: Michael Veitch - Postcards from Vermont
By Cyrus Rhodes - 07/31/2013 - 01:43 PM EDT
Artist: Michael Veitch
Album: Postcards from Vermont
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Americana, Folk, Acoustic
Sounds Like: Crosby, Stills and Nash, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, R.E.M.
Technical Grade: 9/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 8/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Last Farmer in Vermont, Hand on the Wheel, Quarryman
Weakness: Repetitive Catalog More Instrumentation and Solos
While living for two years in Munich, Germany, the concept for Postcards From Vermont took shape with enough new and revisited material to fill a Volume 2 in the near future. Being a native Vermonter who probably stayed too many years in the Green Mountain State before heading out to view the great big world, these songs accurately channel the dreams, visions, loss, adventures, and loves experienced growing up in the Southern part of the State, where there were more paper mills than dairy farms, and rivers ran in many colors from the inks and dyes dumped as waste from those same mills. A lifetime spent performing and writing music culminates in these mature, clear and well produced contemporary folk songs that all tell a story as part of the larger Vermont theme. Some are revisits from earlier works, including the original "Last Farmer In Vermont" released in 1987, and " Quarryman," written with Julie Last and appearing on "Painted Heart." "Never Been To China" is from Veitch's "Heartlander" CD. The new works were mostly all recorded in Germany and the tracks flown in to a pro-tools session at Julie Last's Coldbrook Studio in Bearsville, Ny. One track, "Postcards From Vermont," was recorded at Rick Davis's "Majik Kabin" studio in Ascutney Vermont. And "Sunday Driving" was recorded live at the Flynn Theater at a 2001 show Veitch opened for Shawn Colvin.
The CD kicks off with “Close Enough to Touch” an slow moving heartfelt ditty that serves up steady rock beat reminiscent of vintage Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan complete with a rockabilly type guitars, soothing melodies and well placed harmonies. Track 2 “First Snow of the Year” serves up rock steady rhythm, timeless Americana groove and impressive melodic ambience and well placed strings. Track 3 “Home Again” keeps things moving with its heart felt duet (Veitch and Solly Aschkar). This piece features a melodic musical exuberance with a grand slam chorus that flows and ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Crosby, Stills and Nash, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and even R.E.M. The actual musical format is very intimate, up close: a personal snapshot of the artist. The songs themselves are very naked and personal with messages revealing the highs and lows of life, love, passion and do I dare say life’s observations. Overall the catalogue is upbeat, methodical, providing a brilliant perspective on life. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice brief splashes of Americana-Folk-Rock overtones, Strings, Piano, well placed rhythm and solo guitar and lush harmonies all built upon an impressive yet earthy rhythmic foundation. Lyrical content is extremely revealing and thought provoking. All songs cut deep to the core and its obvious Veitch is also a very capable songwriter and life traveler/soul searcher. As a singer he fills the sonic space well and reminds me of Kenny Rogers. From striking “Never Been to China” to heartfelt “Fevered Dream” to rocking Last Farmer in Vermont” to stoic “Hand on the Wheel” to grooving Quarryman” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 the title track, the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
It’s safe to say the catalog is a bit repetitive overall. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. One thing that can add more variety is bringing a tad more instrumentation to the table especially within the Folk/Americana/Celtic realm there's a lot to chose from. Harmonica, Fiddles, Mandolin, Percussion, Hammond Organ, and Cello. I Also with there were more barnburner solo sections throughout all songs.
Michael Veitch will work it’s magic on days you want a delicate, melancholy, honest and pure acoustic sound to fill your atmosphere. Its strong suit is its overall consistency, lyrical wisdom and bold passion and straightforwardness. Make no bones about it folks; it took raw courage and honesty to write and perform these songs. What I like most about Veitch is there is no attempt to hide how he feels, or sugarcoat the truth. I really admire artists out there who are themselves and just let the chips fall where they may. Praise goes out to the artist that has the courage to show us something real and genuine beneath their veil of vanity. Michael Veitch is one of those artists.
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