album review – Jerry Powell’s “One Song at a Time”
By Brian Tucker
Singer-songwriter Jerry Powell is having a CD release show Friday night for his new full length album One Song at a Time.
The show was scheduled to be at Sweet & Savory Cafe but they’re expecting a larger crowd so the venue has moved just around the corner to The Pub at Sweet & Savory (the old Kefi location). Powell will be joined on stage with Greg McGlohon playing harmonica, Jeff Norris on guitar, Mike Adams on banjo and Airlie Pickett on violin.
Performing material from the twelve song One Song at a Time should keep the audience on their toes. Powell’s swagger-filled musical tastes are on display as the album roams from genre to style. “Step Back” likes to punch but lands smooth like a Steely Dan tune and “Have You Seen this Girl” is a modern take on a 60s folk tune, think The Byrds but done a bit more lovingly.
Powell mostly shows an affinity for blues based material, be it the acoustic slide guitar driven “Sick and Tired,” the opening track “Waiting for the Man” (that marries blues with a country sound), or “Emmie Mae,” a sweet nod to Powell’s second granddaughter. The album’s best track is “Woman is the Best Thing,” unleashed as a slow, smoky number about messin’ up and having to grovel about it. Powell sings with a raspy, soulful timbre and there’s a brief jam section around the middle and once again towards the end.
There’s a lot of love on the album, be it love of freedom, a coastal environment, a good woman, or just the good old days. The latter is punctuated best by album closer “Whatcha Gonna Do,” driven by crunchy guitar riffs and Powell sounding anything but his age. The song brings to mind last year’s latest release from Mojo Collins, or even the song “Old” by White Tiger & the Bed of Roses, a band whose music is far removed from Powell’s. It serves as an example of musicians growing older without getting older, at least not spiritually.
One Song at a Time is as much about looking back as looking forward, more importantly; it’s about appreciating what you have. Powell is just having a fun time doing so.
An interesting note about the CD – Powell doesn’t add lyrics to his songs (he doesn’t need to, he sounds clear as a bell across the material) but instead adds a brief note about each song. It’s a nice touch, something that would be nice to see more often on releases from bands/musicians.