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Jerry Falzone | Just Before the Storm

album review by John Powell

Jerry Flazone | Just Before the Storm

Jerry Falzone is a musician that never does anything without intention, and Just Before the Storm is well thought out, well composed, and a simply beautiful Americana album. While Jerry’s been pegged as a singer/songwriter, this album breaks him from that title alone, as he sounds intentionally and wonderfully like Tom Petty or Neil Young. Sweeping songs about love, loss, and hope follow Petty’s motto: “Get to the chorus,” and each chorus is catchy, often with female and male backing vocals. When I first heard Jerry’s older album Off the North Coast I was impressed by his songwriting ability, but Just Before the Storm is a different level.

The title track leaps in with sparkling lead guitar and a full-bodied open-chord progression. Jerry’s voice is soothing, much better than either of the songwriting greats mentioned above. His inflections beckon words as they feel. “I can’t believe/you would want to leave/after all that we’ve been through.” The lyrics aren’t specific, but encompass life. “Is it worth the fight?” he asks, and the chorus is pretty open to interpret, but this works because of the intention. Jerry is sure he’s not writing a truly original, artistic heart-splitter. No, he’s writing a freakin’ great song.

Many of the songs have “You” in the title: “Here For You”, “Forget About You”, Letting You Go”, “Depending On You”. They’re all good.

“Sweet Virginia” is a beautiful throwback to the old days of songwriting- a mixture of Johnny Cash and 60s hippie protest songs. “The fields were abandoned/the homes had all been burned,” he sings over mandolin and quarter note bass. “I fell into the shadows/until the dancer turned.” The lyrics are poetry, except for the chorus, “Sweet Virginia/in you I am reborn,” is slightly unoriginal…but it’s heartfelt, and that familiarity makes us smile.

The peek is “Letting You Go”. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard fierce organ pierce the speakers and soak the air with sweetness. Sam Gruttadauria plays the Hammond organ here, and the fast-tempo song just shines. There are beautiful “Ohs” and “Oohs”. I love it and recommend it for anyone that likes songs. Seriously. Just go listen to it.

“Come Back Now” features a verse and chorus by Jerry Engler, who sounds like Elvis, and the song, slow and sweet, really cuts deep. It deserves a spot in a jukebox of an old Southern bar with dust everywhere and lots of leather boots. The duet is sincere. The voices complement one another.

The album closer, “We Will Meet Again’, has orchestrated strings humming underneath pinching guitar strums. The song holds special value for Jerry, and appears now as an excellent recording. Building slowly, a chorus of voices unify under the chorus. Open about his spirituality- which, I tell you right now, is not religiousness, certainly not preachy, but more introspective- “We Will Meet Again” has a gospel-esque coolness that drips like honey. It’s another key track.

If there are any faults it’s that Jerry’s lyrics rarely hit the specific. “Think of me when/your heart starts to mend,” he sings on the closer. The rhymes are predictable, the choruses similar each time. Again, much of this is intentional. Jerry wanted catchy songs that imbed in your daily shower humming session, and he succeeded. I’d love to hear him dive into songwriting with an agenda, to hear him talk specifically about childhood, or being on tour, etc.

But it’s overall hard to complain about Just Before the Storm, which rises and falls like the tides, and shows off Jerry (and noteworthy producer and guitarist Ray Bellizia), as champions of the genre. Two thumbs up.

Bottom line: Jerry’s back with his most pop heavy set yet, trying on many musical caps but always keeping his head high.

Comments  

 
0 # Jerry Falzone 2011-12-31 18:59
Thank you John, you made me listen with new ears.
 
 
0 # Ken Colombo 2014-03-24 16:20
It has been a pleasure to be working musically with Jerry Falzone, et al these past 14 months on the new CD "Liars Moon". The creativity flowed like wine at the wedding celebration at Cana! "Liars Moon" CD release is upon us very soon...
Ken Colombo
 

 

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