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Everybody's Beautiful
Artist:  Waterdeep
Label:  Squint Entertainment
Length: 13 Tracks/54:21 minutes
There aren't many hippies in modern music.  Maybe a few of the more obscure folk artists could be called hippies, but there hasn't been a major-label release from a group of them for many years.

Until now.  Squint Entertainment is releasing a new album, entitled Everybody's Beautiful, from the insanely popular independent group Waterdeep.  And if these guys aren't hippies, then nobody is.  But don't dismiss their music as outdated protest songs--this music is at once classic and relevant, at once familiar and new.

The music's exactly what you'd expect from hippies in the 90's--acoustic guitars framed by electric splotches, and even an organ.  The lyrics, though, are the real treasure of Everybody's Beautiful.  They are, for the most part, story-songs, telling stories of sin, redemption, hopelessness, and hope.  My personal favorite is "Sweet River Roll":

    Homebound Henry, he's got a tumor in his head
    He wakes up sweating every morning after dreaming he was dead
    He used to think that life was boring, but now that's not the case
    He turns to his wife in the evening
    He says, "Honey, I'm afraid I'm gonna lose this race"

    Soaking wet Juliet, she lives in a well full of tears
    Her husband left her for some bimbo after twenty-two years
    And she's got to start all over, but she's just so terrified
    She thinks it would've been so much easier if he would've just died

Waterdeep could easily be compared to the late Mark Heard, pointing out hope to the disenfranchised, while playing some kick-butt folk music at the same time.  I predict a bright future ahead for them.

Michial Farmer  10/15/99

Waterdeep's "hippy" influences are well documented and lead to a quirky-pop sound mixing loose electric and acoustic guitars with lyrics that look to a future hope. As a result of its quirkiness, the album takes a while to warm to, but even after repeat listenings it sounds as if it could do with a little more focused energy. The cooks are obviously talented craftsmen and the mixture is compelling, but the presentation could do with a little more work. An enjoyable dish, but not one that lingers in the memory.

James Stewart  11/26/1999



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