Listen Up: Wednesday, May 25, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Jimmy Lafave

Blue Nightfall
(Red House Records)

By Tom Geddie

Jimmy Lafave, with his searing tenor and keyboard-strewn songs, is one of our best balladeers, capable of melting the coldest heart. The Austin-based singer-songwriter is one of the few Americana artists who can conjure up a romantic mood — without losing his credibility — with only his acoustic guitar and quiet country-rockish accompaniment. Blue Nightfall, Lafave’s seventh c.d. and first in four years, is an organic, melancholy tribute to loves lost and won.
Lafave, also one of our finest interpreters of the work of both Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, mostly sticks to his own songs here. The one cover is a killer version of Gretchen Peters’ “Revival,” which quickly segues from the imagery of a street preacher and a roadside sign to the eternal question, “If God can forgive me, why can’t you?”
The mood set, Lafave spends the rest of Blue Nightfall mixing simple words — the best ones for love — with multi-layered music that’s often as poignant as the lyrics. On “Rain Falling Down,” he anticipates a beautiful woman will break his heart as he sings, “I’m the restless wind / You are the rain falling down.” On “When You Were Mine” and other songs, he sings of his unconditional love for a woman who’s gone.
Staying within the sentimental mood of much of his work, the two-time Austin Chronicle singer-songwriter of the year orchestrates softer, almost symphonic sounds from the typical rock and country arrangement of lead and rhythm guitars, bass, and drums ... and keyboards.


More information: Three boogies — one for Jack Kerouac, one for the road, one for coming home — and a socially conscious blues song for Native Americans add variety to the c.d., but romance dominates.
Blue Nightfall is a triumph of melancholy love, as much for the music as for the words.


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