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Jerry Falzone | Off the North Coast

Album review by John Powell

Jerry Falzone | Off the North Coast

Off the North Coast begins with the sound of some serious waves coming in, and then acoustic guitar and violin guide us into lyrics like, “I’ll follow the stars as they fall through the night.” Jerry Falzone may at first come across as a typical singer/songwriter, but this excellent first album that only recently made it’s way into my hands is indeed the product of a musician truly deserving of the title, both an emotive singer and endearing songwriter.

“Hell and High Water” might say it all: roving bass, finger-picked guitar, a slow and concise drum pattern, lead guitar filtering in like a hero, and Jerry singing, “I’m learning to win.” The song is as catchy and telling as it is conventional. It’s the blend that makes him so likeable, like on “Dance With Me”, a corny but beautifully-so proclamation of spirituality. “I hear the wind,” Jerry sings, “dancing in the night/it’s the sweetest sound I ever heard.” The female backing vocals make everything resonate.

“Island” takes another tactic, roaring with electric guitar and heavy percussion, and making you aware that Jerry sounds in many ways like Jimmy Buffett, although a little less relaxed and a little more intense. “I’ll buy you an island,” he sings, “Going to donate my car.”

A key track is “Open Your Eyes”, a lesson in singer/songwriter etiquette, Jerry’s voice filtered through some watery effects and his guitar clear and full. The chorus zings. The bridge sounds like Beach Boys in a cyclone. It only takes three and a half minutes for Jerry to prove he has a knack for writing something you’ll connect with.

Overall, Jerry’s lyrics are hopeful and faithful. The rhymes never sound contrived. He’s neither too specific nor metaphorical. “I’m gonna buy you a motorbike,” he sings on “Glide”; “I think it’s time you finally learned what it’s like to fly.” He’s honest without being too revealing, and conventional without being too overdone.

Off the North Coast definitely isn’t for the younger generation, although if they listened in they’d certainly learn a thing or two. Jerry’s a seasoned songwriter, having been a musician for a long time, and therefore he’s more sure of his life and has chased down any dreams he’s had, allowing him space for meditation. This album doesn’t reinvent music, but as I said, Jerry’s a pro singer/songwriter; not a fallback title, but rather an excellent depiction of how he produces songs like equations, always balanced.

The album closer, “Never Let Me Go”, is a good example. Acoustic guitar presides, with violin overhead angelically. “Hold me,” Jerry asks, “Need you so.” It’s half poetry, half lyrical custom, but more than anything Jerry makes something few people can harp on.

Bottom line: This old release has a timeless sentimentality, so maybe it’s not the next MTV choice pick, but at least it has substance, and plenty thereof.


 

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