CD Review: Bobby Sweet | Music | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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CD Review: Bobby Sweet

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B SWEET RECORDS

With his lambent gaze, lustrous dark curls, and unapologetically ’70s singer-songwriter moustache, Bobby Sweet bears no small resemblance to John Oates of Hall and Oates. There’s a musical similarity as well: Sweet’s soulful, bluesy, seen-the-world-and-know-the-score style is reminiscent of the famous duo, particularly when he offers dregs-of-the-whiskey-bottle wisdom like: “if lying to yourself were some kind of crime / they’d lock you up and throw away the key.” That line comes from “Psychology,” a tart blues filled with dextrous finger plucking. The way I see it, finger picking is the musical equivalent of good knife skills in the kitchen—it separates the top chef from the gifted amateur, and the gifted amateur from the shlemazel with the bleeding fingertips.
Sweet’s no amateur, as he shows in the title track, a plaintive, melodic lament with harmonies in all the right places. You begin to imagine a cowboy beatnik bar where caballeros go to sip handmade beers, and this is where Sweet plays night after night. (According to the bio on his website, Sweet lives in the town of Beckett, in the Berkshires, but spent time on horseback in Patagonia.) If this imaginary bar took requests, I’d ask for a few more songs with a dash of verbal astringency. Sweet’s music is true to his name, and a little lyrical slap, unexpected and sharp, would provide the perfect contrast.

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