Denver review….August 10, 2014…

DENVER

ROWDY LOVE

MAMA BIRD RECORDING COMPANY

LONELY LONESOME AND ALONE–CARRY ON–A WAY OUT–BIRD IN THE MORNING DEW–PRISON SONG–BOUND TO LOSE–ROWDY LOVE–SAMMYVILLE–THE SHAME–SPLIT DITCH–HALFWAY THERE

The men who comprise the band Denver–Birger Olsen, Tom Bevitori, and Mike Elias–define a new generation of Americana players whose master storytelling abilities touch the depth and breadth of human emotion, realizing that we all have the same needs and desires, and, sometimes, music is the only poultice.

Their latest album is called “Rowdy Love,” and some of Portland’s finest musicians are on hand in support, too.  Sean MacNeil is on drums, Billy Slater is on bass, and Lew Longmire is on guitar.

The three men’s voices do really blend well together within the context of this material.  Birger Olsen, who does lead vocal on “Bird In The Morning Dew,” which he describes as a “love song” of sorts, and “Sammyville,” the story of a man who founded his own town, has one of those laconic deliveries that reminded us of bluesman Hans Thessink.

The set begins with a song about a broken marriage that leaves our hero “Lonely, Lonesome, And Alone,” with mournful harp in the background.  Another busted relationship makes one wonder how to “Carry On,” and either stand up to one’s problems, or keep running away from them.

We all have a dark side, and Tom describes it in fine form on “Bound To Lose,” where self-destruction will eventually catch up with you.  The set closes with Mike’s stark “Halfway There,” the tale of a man who’s had a lifetime of bad luck, but finds solace “in time spent with you.’

We had two favorites, too.  The title cut is a cool two-stepper that is done as a song of apology from a man to his wife, who, altho he may be “under the influence” somewhat, seems genuinely sorry for his shortcomings.  Perhaps the most powerful cut is “Prison Song,” as a death row inmate, about to see the sunrise for the final time, begins to reminisce about his late mother, begging her to forgive him, altho it is too little too late.

Many of the songs on “Rowdy Love” could be literal “next-door neighbors” to the blues.  And, we likened listening to “Rowdy Love” to looking at some of those old lithographs, with pictures “from life’s oher side.”  Through that grainy focus, you can see our hopes, dreams, laughs, tears, and fears.  Denver pulls it all together, and makes you glad you came along for the ride.  Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.

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