Jeff Elbel Ping - Gallery cover. Gallery is the one we've been waiting for.

Jeff Elbel & Ping
Marathon Records

Jeff Elbel, once known as the hardest working at the Gallery Stage (Cornerstone Festival, RIP), has been building toward this record for years. Gallery is the most fleshed out, musically cohesive record than Elbel and his bandmates in Ping have recorded to date. Only the musical cognescenti will recognize all of the players here, but suffice it to say there is a ton of talent involved.

The highlights of the disc change every time I listen, but I keep coming back to "I Can Change," "Simple Song," and "Light It Up," which features Maron Gaffron. (I'd like to hear Maron duet with Beki Hemingway some day). This last song simply blazes with an undeniable intensity.

Elbel's voice has always been a blend of several artists from Terry Scott Taylor to Mike Roe to Bob Dylan to about ten others who don't come immediately to mind. At any rate, it works, and works well. "I Forgot" recalls "You Little Victim" from No Outlet, combined with a Bob Dylan-style soundtrack. And what's this? Guitar solos – Dan Dixon on "Light It Up" in particular. Cornerstone stalwart Harry Gore is featured on "Comfort Me."

Gallery is the one we've been waiting for, and it's easy to say this is my favorite Ping project.

Brian A. Smith

8 December 2012
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