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South of Delia

Richard Shindell

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Album Review

Ever since Elton John and Bernie Taupin released Tumbleweed Connection a variety of artists have dipped into that old west quasi-country world, a place somewhere between Triple A and country radio, but not really part of either. "Acadian Driftwood" is a strong opening track, pedal steel, accordion and violin all played with a grasp of what the methodical and understated artist has in mind. Understated in a good way, mind you, as "Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)" blends that Gordon Lightfoot melancholy with superb ethereal electric slide guitar. "The Humpback Whale," on the other hand, is a perfect theme to Sena Jeter Naslund's novel Ahab's Wife, Richard Shindell moving to different imaginary settings, old west to the high seas. His rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A." is definitive — you can actually understand the lyrics while the arrangement, production and execution are all superior to Springsteen's bark. This artist performs the cover as if he wrote it and puts real love into the rendition. Quite a revelation as well as a statement on Shindell's contributions which have not been fully recognized at the time of this release. "Sitting on Top of the World" is another example of taking well-worked material and making it a cohesive part of this collection, putting his signature on music that in lesser hands would just come off stale. Whether it's the elegant harmonies on "Mercy Street" or the subtle guitar strums of "The Storms Are on the Ocean," the intent is effectively projected on this highly listenable excursion to different lands and different times. "Northbound 35" perfect for a sequel to Brokeback Mountain, that pensive mood with reflective lyrics — "what's beautiful is broken" to "I never even kissed you on the mouth/And he said goodbye" — territory Lou Reed covered on his Berlin album though here it is more sad than dark. The 12 tracks combine to draw out an eloquent dialogue, the music a delicate and perfect counterpoint to the ideas Richard Shindell expresses to the listener on this superior release.

Customer Reviews

Richard Shindell

Hi my name is Marty and I'm a Shindell-o-holic, so consider this a biased review. It's interesting that Richard Shindell, an artist reknown for his songwriting, would record an album of cover tunes, but he suceeds in making them his own, with his own understated musicianship and singing style. Lawrence, KS is my favorite here, written by Josh Ritter, another singer well worth checking out. If you liked Vuelta, and Somewhere Near Paterson, this collection of songs will fit your taste nicely. Now if only more artists would cover his songs....

south of delia

South of Delia is an outstanding work! The song selection and Richard’s interpretation of those songs create and amazing experience for the listener. Each song tells a story and the songs are woven together in such a way that the end result is a much larger story – one of our past, present, and future. The CD is produced to perfection and the content is nothing short of inspirational. Richard’s version of Senor (Tales of Yankee Power) literally gave me chills the first time I heard it, and Northbound 35 and Lawrence KS are two songs you’re not going to get tired of listening to soon. I’ve been listening to Richard’s music for the past several years – he is truly a gifted song writer. However, south of delia (consisting of all covers) may be my favorite Shindell CD – at least until he releases his next one.

Extraordinary.

Richard Shindell is amazing. I agree with another reviewer that his songs hold up on their own and he doesn't need to do covers necessarily, but when he does them, as with this album, he doesn't mess around- he's just as incredible as he is with his own work. The best songs here are "Acadian Driftwood," "Born in the U.S.A.," and "Northbound 35," but the whole album is great. I completely recommend this- as well as all of Richard Shindell's albums. I could listen to his singing all day.

Biography

Born: Lakehurst, NJ

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

An enigmatic singer/songwriter whose work veered from the bitterly comic to the profoundly spiritual, Richard Shindell gained attention with the Fast Folk Musical Magazine series (which previously launched then-unknowns like Lyle Lovett and Nanci Griffith, as well). A native of Lakehurst, New Jersey, Shindell was a former seminary student whose first musical exposure came while playing guitar in the Razzy Dazzy Spasm Band alongside the young John Gorka; he began composing songs during the late 1980s,...
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South of Delia, Richard Shindell
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