Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Billy Sedylmayer's demos!

  I’ve been listening over and over to some of Billy Sedylmayer’s demo recordings of original music  (“Pan American Highway Blues”, “Two Angels, An Artist, The Knife”, and “Chain letter”) and I’ve come to the conclusion: he’s a giant.

Stylistically,  you’ll hear shades of John Lennon, or Billy Bragg, or maybe even Paul Westerberg,  but you quickly forget about those associations because you feel so moved by what you’re listening to.   Maybe it’s in all the great touches he adds to his tunes, like the percussive taps he gives his guitar, or the honesty with which he delivers each song.  Here are some brief descriptions:

Pan American Highway Blues: nice hollow and reverb sound; it sounds like he’s strumming an old steel guitar with a driving rock tempo. “Pan American Highway” isn’t just a tune; it’s more like an experience.  When he sings about the waitress in the diner, and how she started singing a country tune from the ‘50’s, and he left to get back into his car, you can’t help feeling like you’re getting in the car with Billy.  The song isn’t just about a road trip; it feels like a road trip.

“Two Angels, An Artist,  The Knife” has a more baroque feel; jangly acoustic guitar,  upbeat tempo…reminds me of something from the ‘70’s, but it’s hard to place.

“Chain Letter”: Initially reminded me of John Lennon singing along to a rhythm machine.  This is a ‘50’s-styled, and Billy delivers it with really feeling.

Although my descriptions of these songs are simple and brief, I’m really in awe of what I’m listening to here. In fact, it’s hard to simply listen to these songs, for they are immersive experiences.  I don’t know why,  but when I listen to these tunes,  I feel on the verge of tears.  There’s real poetry here, in the writing, the playing, the imagery; Billy’s mastered all of the components. There’s something very real and timeless about his this work,  something that transcends any musical category.   It’s bigger than “new music”; it’s the real deal. But I’ll say it again: we’ve got a giant in our midst! I think his new work is amazing.

-- H. Salmon

(Note: Billy Sedylmayer is playing acoustic gigs Wednesday night all September at the Red Room on Congress Street, in Tucson, AZ)

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