CD REVIEW: Jeff Diamond - 30 Trips around the Sun
By Cyrus Rhodes
Acoustic, Folk, Rock
Conservative acoustic production goes down dry, Winded Catalogue.
San Diego, CA guitarist, singer-songwriter Jeff Diamond releases “30 Trips around the Sun” in 2009. This is his debut release.
Logging in at just under 57 minutes the CD kicks things off with “Dance” an upbeat intro piece complete with hooky verse, rhythmic acoustic guitar, and impressive vocal presence from Diamond. Track 2 “Don’t Talk about my Girlfriend” downshifts a bit with more of a solitary melody, with just acoustic guitar and naked yet powerful vocals and lyrics from Diamond. Track 3 “Train that stops for no one” is another thought provoking melody with driving rhythm, and impressive vocal harmonies, and melodic touches from Diamond. As this CD slowly unfolds it’s obvious Diamonds’ music has a lot to offer. It has all the trademarks of acoustic folk/rock - sometimes dark, sometimes bright, never to be underestimated, always keeping you guessing, yet fully entertained all at the same time. This CD flows extremely well song for song. Each piece is short and sweet, and holds your attention span perfectly. The musical textures are pretty simplistic, and for a 3 piece rock delivery holds it’s own remarkably. You will even notice a few percussive elements layered into he music. Some songs are upbeat and will lift your spirits like “Thoughts of a Lonely Traveler”, and “Dance” and “In the Shadows beyond the Light” While other are full of no nonsense-type passion like “Today” and “Neverworld.” The defining moments for me are the sad but true moments - “My Best Friend”, “Welcome Home”, Girl I’ll Never Know” this is where we see the true cut the crap brilliance of Diamond shine through – never afraid to shy away from the naked truth. The musicianship of all the players involved is solid across the board. Diamonds vocal style works extremely well song for song. He possesses passion, mojo, and a vocal swagger that goes down smooth, and simply refuses to try to hard. Diamond holds his own in the bare bones musical setting well. On tracks like “Netherworld” and “Goodbye Goodnight.”, and “Welcome Home.” You will be touched by his vocal presence and message. My favorite tracks on the CD is a toss up between “Goodbye Goodnight”, “Netherworld”, and “Today.” These amazing ballads let it all hang out emotionally serving up passionate vocals and amazing subject matter. There’s no other way to describe Jeff Diamond – Simply Brilliant! The CD ends on a powerful note with Track 12: “Welcome Home” and even 4 bonus live tracks.
I can’t help but wonder what some of these songs would sound like with even more musical variety layered within the music. Instruments such as multi-textured guitars, harmonica, mandolin, Hammond organ, violin, viola, cello, piano, banjo, ukulele, more percussion, would bring a much needed musical dimension to this catalogue. As a result the production goes down a bit dry. By song 15 you feel like you are being dragged to the finish line against your will.
Overall this release from Jeff Diamond is very impressive. Its strong suit is his musical depth, songwriting craft, and amazing vocal presence. Diamond displays some amazing creativity not only in his writing, but his vocal harmonies and melodic touches and accents. Pound for Pound “30 Trips around the Sun” is honest yet uplifting statement, filled with messages of life, hope, and true love. Take 30 Trips around the Sun with Jeff Diamond and I promise you will want to do it again, and again.
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