Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on

15Jul/100

Back To Get Ya

Welcome to summer in the city, where the days are long and the nights are sultry. If your soul is warmed by the familiarity of hot breezes through open windows carrying the sounds of music and chatter on the street, and your mind is enticed by a steamy barroom tapestry of smoke, drink, romance and emotion, then there is a new soundtrack for your overnights.

It is called Midnight Souvenirs, the latest release from Peter Wolf, a soon-to-be-classic which is filled with love, hope, despair and a large dose of adult perspective.

The seventh solo album from Wolf since he left the mighty J. Geils Band in 1983, Midnight Souvenirs displays a depth in songwriting, performance and production that most artists wish for and often never achieve.

The opening track, “Tragedy,” is so good, they could have stopped there.  A great melody complemented by Wolf’s cool yet heartfelt delivery, you’ll be singing along by the second listen. A gold star is attached to this one for bringing in the lovely and talented Shelby Lynne to lay down an achingly beautiful guest vocal.

The variety of stylings present throughout is impressive and very appropriate to Wolf’s musical personality. From the dance-floor heat of “Watch Her Move,” a surefire smash in days gone by, to the passively stark acceptance of love gone repeatedly sour in “Then It Leaves Us All Behind,” Wolf is always believable and in command of his wealth of influences.

Filling the space in between are smooth and swaying pieces of adult pop (“Always Asking for You,” “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Don’t Try To Change Her”), songs of hope and rebirth (“There’s Still Time,” “The Green Fields of Summer”), and a few visits to familiar places  including “Thick As Thieves," resurrected and reworked from Wolf's second solo record, 1987's Come As You Are.

Saving the best for last, Wolf teams up with living legend Merle Haggard for a last-call tale of life unfulfilled in “It’s Too Late for Me.” What seems like an unlikely blend is genuine in spirit and memorable in performance.

Here’s hoping that after six outstanding yet under-appreciated solo efforts, it’s not too late for Peter Wolf.  Midnight Souvenirs is an absolute gem deserving of great attention.