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C. Gibbs
Parade Of Small Horses
Eastern Spurs/ Dren Records/ Rubric Records
www.cgibbsreview.com


As a music writer, it doesn't get a whole lot better than this - learning about new music and hearing things that you probably would never otherwise hear. From the first moment of C. Gibbs' latest record, I was completely hooked. Of course, the first moments were spent in wonder at the Nick Cave on twangy country steroids vibe of "Ferdinand". And then the album really began, further encouraging my admiration, but changing my opinions somewhat. "Why?" You ask? Well, let me tell you.

"Ferdinand" is a rich track, filled with twanging guitars and dark, deep vocals that recall the very finest moments of Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, etc. The song is near three minutes of perfect alt-country sound. It is a song that I would recommend everyone in the world hears at least once, and it is the kind of song that could be used as a music listening litmus test. Put it on with a group of people and you could easily weed out the wheat from the chaff…

Then the real album begins. We are treated to music of a more Americana/folk nature, with some definite country overtones, and brilliant playing. But the voice changes. Suddenly gone is the deep, thick Cave-like vocal and in its place is a more natural, Neil Young style vocal. The true voice of C. Gibbs comes forth. This voice compliments the music a bit more, lightening the mood a bit, and becoming more listenable and endearing as the album progresses. And these songs are awesome, from the light swing of "Devil's Water" to the brilliant downbeat folkishness of "Sorry Sade". The album carries effortlessly from song to song, never leaving a space or tune that might allow disinterest to gather. Each of these songs is well written and fascinating in its own particular way. "Parade Of Small Horses" equals the finest (long-gone) moments of Wilco, with its easy-going rhythms and bright pop melody that makes for a memorable little chorus. The guitar on "Duplicate Machines" would make Pete Anderson proud, fully twanging out while rocking with a bright presence rarely found on indie records, and even some very cool steel licks. The album wraps with "Lonely On A Saturday Night", which is an eerie folk-bent track filled with beautiful strings and softly chiming keyboards. Gibbs' voice never sounds as clean and transcendent as when he utters "When you hide your eyes from me/ it's a case, in pride, you've made/ when you lie on your lady back tears/ it's a price, in time, I'll pay… When I'm lonely on Saturday night."

Take it from me, folks, this is an album worth hearing if you are at all interested in any of the bands that I have spoken about above. Or even if you like any of the following: Paul Simon, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Bright Eyes, Elliott Smith, Modest Mouse, or The Shins. This is the beginning of something grand.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Ferdinand
2. Honeywell
3. Devil's Water
4. Two Dollar Ford
5. Tenhorse
6. Parade Of Small Horses
7. Sorry Sade
8. Tiny Bridges
9. Duplicate Machines
10. So Long Marie
11. All State Union Song
12. Lonely On A Saturday Night


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