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Flying Boy

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Album Review

On Flying Boy, Chris Kasper finds that there's still some purchase left in the worn "acoustic singer/songwriter" format for subtle originality. Kasper is an inventive guitar picker and strummer with a pleasing rasp of a voice who offers up a collection of pretty, gritty, and wistful tracks on this album, from the deep burnished groove of "Bit Older" to the delicate and beautiful "The Stoop." There is something equally rootsy and ethereal about the Philadelphia resident's songs, which often seem to drift by like fat clouds in a summer sky. Kasper is best at his most direct, when he is aiming squarely at a groove or offering up a pretty melody. When he moves toward abstraction or verbosity, things don't work as well. "Fly by Night" has a Neil Young-like oddness to it that doesn't work as well as his more direct tunes, while "Crazy Dog, Crazy Man, Crazy World" focuses too much on narrative and not enough on melody. But then Kasper hits you with the deep sparkling groove of "Gone the Summer" and the closing lament, "Farewell" (which, like a few tracks here, calls to mind John Martyn), and all trespasses are forgiven. At the end of the day, Flying Boy is evidence of a talented artist still engaged in exploration.

Flying Boy, Chris Kasper
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