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Tin Lily
Artist: Jeff Black 
Label: Dualtone Music Group Inc

Jeff Black is an artist I first heard about in 1998 or so when his first album Birmingham Road was being released. He had a kind of buzz going on around him then and I remember owning that album for a time before eventually getting rid of it.  I remember what I liked about that album and upon listening to his latest entitled Tin Lily I was reminded of much the same. Jeff Blackís music falls squarely in the tried and true blue collar Americana rootsy folk/rock sound. Heís got a good voice that falls between the raspy, grittiness of other singers like Marc Cohn and Matthew Ryan. I feel that Jeff Black is one of those guys that if you didnít know anything about him and you heard him in a bar you would like him enough to want to possibly buy his album or at least, even want to see him again. Heís kind of got that aforementioned buzz going on around him and I think it mainly has to do with his voice. Itís very pleasant and almost recognizable, like he sounds like other people you have heard of but canít quite place, maybe a Cohn or a Ryan for instance. But I think that is part of the problem, for me anyway, is that while sounding like a guy one who likes this kind of music would like, he is way too vague lyrically for his own good. I listened to Tin Lily about three times and while trying to remain objective and open-minded, I was just way to.....what the heck is this guy singing about......for me to really dig it. I would venture to say that Jeff Black has a very good idea what some or all of these songs are about. Then again, maybe heís not too sure himself. You never know with songwriters!  But, either way, if he does know, heís not letting on well enough for me to have really connected with what he may or may not be trying to get across. So, for me, heís failing the crucial test of how well he connects with his audience. All of that said, I do think Jeff Black shows great promise and over time could become a very good and possibly even well-known artist. He does have a very good voice that is enjoyable to listen to. In the press release, he says: ďI love songs about freeing the spirit and treating your individuality as something thatís precious and important.Ē Well, as a listener, I love artists who sing about these subjects. My two cent advice for Jeff Black is to be more open and less vague when he writes about this noble subject matter. Heís got a good thing going.....he needs to just open it up more and let it fly! 

Favorite song: ĎHard Way Outí

Chris Barlow 12/14/2005



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