I might as well be as up front about this as I can. I like Michael Merenda best when he’s thrashing every musical style into a big, frothy Mulligan mix of this, that, and all things in-between, like he did on his last disc, Election Day
That’s not to say that Quiver
, a much quieter, decisively acoustic affair earthily infused with Merenda’s old-school folk lyricism and Ruth Ungar’s autumnal harmonies, misses the mark. Keen observations like opener “Crutch,” “In the Flickerin’ Light,” the ancient-sounding ballad “Soldier for the Prince,” and the lusty, ruminative “The Engine and The Emergency Brake” put it on par with Merenda’s best.
Producer Jose Ayerve keeps the proceedings sparse, using the formidable playing of Ungar (fiddle, fretless banjo, harmonica) and Ken Maiuri (keyboards, percussion, bass) as shaded textures to Merenda’s many guitars, lending an air of back-porch pickin’ the album.
Merenda plans to be on tour in support of Quiver
throughout 2007. For more information, and to hear music from his previous discs, Election Day
and Trapped in the Valley
, check www.michaelmerenda.com