Elijah Tucker’s solo debut is generous of spirit, heart, and voice. He’s an accomplished instrumentalist and vocalist—he wrote and sang all the songs, played drums, guitar, and bass, xylophone, and flute. Lots of horns amble in and out; some are great, though some noodle and compete with one another. The record’s rock and R&B realm mixes fluently with poppy funk, reggae, country, and blues. Tucker’s voice is well matched for the genres, and sounds best when the music is focused and the songs are stripped of unnecessary accompaniment. “A Cacophonous Initiation” indicates the emergence of a child in Tucker’s recent life. At first that’s a worry, since little good can ever come from a record inspired by a baby, let alone those that include xylophone. Thankfully, other themes include girls and lonely and deep loves, lived and died. Some of the lyrics are, oddly, personal yet abstract, and at other times easy and obvious—though many will find them reassuringly immediate and familiar. “The Aurora” is a sultry yet directed, pulsing, and forceful rhythm, with a lusty devil-drawl that Tucker should take more advantage of. “Windowless Room” (with organ by guest Pete Levin) similarly succeeds because of its directed country blues map and classic, loose guitar riffs a la Americana vets JT & the Clouds.
Having spent his productive musical years in Bard College group theFoundation, Tucker brings his Brooklyn-based band to the area to play at Bard’s Down the Road Café in Annandale-on-Hudson on March 4; the Falcon in Marlboro on March 5; and the Black Swan in Tivoli on March 6. www.generousmusic.com.