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On Promenade
Artist: Doug Burr
Label: Spune Prod. / Velvet Blue Music
11 tracks (42 mins) 
 
Don't be fooled by the front cover, where Burr stands woodenly like a cross between a 'sixties besuited pop guitarist and David Crowder. Inside is a hazy, sparse, hypnotic set of songs that could be Michael Pritzl's next release, with alt-folk tendencies, bursts of REM, Lanois influence and a touch of country. 
 
Don't look for many messages, either. Burr has taken a different approach from on his _Sickle and the Sheaves_ gospel-themed release as much here is obscure and dream-like (dreams / nightmares are lyrical regulars, alongside  Americana favorites, such as songs, seasons, trouble, home, singing and the devil).
 
Texan Burr – who already has songwriting nominations and awards to his name – has successfully taken in a variety of largely Southern influences (check out the Neil Young harmonica in “Slow Southern Home” and the pedal steel in songs like “Graniteville”) but made them so much his own that it's hard to see where folk crosses the borders into other genres.
 
“Should've Known” and the entrancing “Whippoorwill” are both tracks that REM would be proud of, with their moody feel, care of the pedal steel notes that wisp as smoke around the Michael Stipe-like  vocals. If you don't go for the album, these are download musts. But then Violet Burning fans might prefer the impassioned “In the Garden” and the roots-minded will love the gentle fiddle-and-banjo-laced “Always Travel Light”....
 
So I recommend the whole unhurried disc, with its melancholy air and almost other-worldly feel. It passes in no time and seduces you into instant repeat plays.
 
Derek Walker 

                  
 
 
 
 

 
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