Henry Wolfe | Linda Vista

(Undermountain 2011)
By NICK A. ZAINO III  |  April 6, 2011
3.0 3.0 Stars

Wolfe main
Had Henry Wolfe released Linda Vista in 1978, he would have been an AOR songwriting sensation. The plodding piano intro and misbegotten tale of love from "Used To Be" is straight out of the Randy Newman songbook. The light fingerpicking and chiming electric piano of "Open the Door" would fit well on the B-side of Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years." "Someone Else" could be Ram-era Paul McCartney. Then Wolfe circles back to Newman on "The Third Act" with a healthy dose of comic pessimism. And that's just the first four songs. Wolfe wears his influences proudly — which may lead some to dismiss him as derivative or nostalgic. But after multiple listens, those obvious earmarks start to recede, and you realize that Wolfe has learned well from his heroes. He's a solid, playful lyricist with a sense of humor, an eye for imagery, and an ear for melody. On the second half of the album, "For the Turnstiles" and the instrumental title track echo Joe Henry at his jazzy, noirish best, telling romanticized hard-luck stories in sepia. If the worst you can say about Wolfe is that he sounds like some of the masters of rock songwriting, that puts him way ahead of the game.
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  Topics: CD Reviews , CD reviews, Pop, Linda Vista,  More more >
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