David Roche Steps Out of the Shadows
By JEFF GOLD
In the late ’70s and ’80s one of the greatest musical groups to come out of the New York folk scene was the Roches, three sisters who wrote and sang some of the greatest songs of that time. The driving force of that group (first discovered by Paul Simon), was Maggie Roche, who tragically left us just a few years ago. Along with these three talented sisters came an extremely talented brother who, because of his sisters’ fame, was left in the shadows.
With his new album Griefcase, an impeccably produced and deeply personal group of songs, David Roche’s time has finally come. Stewart Lerman (Beck, Mumford and Sons), David Kumin (Black 47) and David have produced this album with such love that every track is enhanced and arranged without getting in the way of this very special group of songs. Kumin also played bass, Hammond B3, Wurlitzer and slide guitar on several tracks.
Wisely surrounding himself with class-A musicians, such as the legendary David Mansfield (Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash), he gets right to the essence of each song. The first song “Grief” starts us off with the crack of the snare drum before being joined by heavy electric guitar, the perfect feel for this memorable opener:
I’ve got a grief that’s 10 foot deep
I’ve got a grief that’s way to steep
A grief too far to fall in
With great drumming by Brian Dunne [Hall & Oates] and nice slide guitar to round out the rocking arrangement, it’s a vivid message for our current chaotic state of affairs. He follows it with a good break from that chaos, “Meet and Fall,” a beautifully calming love song duet with his daughter Oona. Their voices blend as only singers from the same family can blend, evoking that rich spirit of his sisters. Set against a pure pair of simple and well-recorded acoustic guitars, it’s a song about the excitement and uncertainty of young love.
Next up is “Love Unending,” a song of boundless love wrapped around a great guitar hook with a sound reminiscent of Paul Simon’s best solo work. The song “Carson” is a profound anti-gun song which shows off his intimate singing style, and asks the question that most Americans have asked for years, and yet remains unanswered still:
Can nothing be done
Controlling the gun
How can we overcome this type of cancer?
Other stand-outs include “Anelle,” which showcases his lyrical piano playing, and also a love song to his wife of over 30 years, “Mary.” :
Stay with me darling
Time is expiring
Never want anything more
Than to be in the grace
Of your beautiful face
As you come round the mountain
And into the door.
This is the work of a confidant artist whose twelve impeccably crafted and produced songs should be welcomed behind the door of everyone who still wants to hear personal songs that speak to all with beautiful memorable melodies.
4 stars out of 4.
To order: https://www.davidroche.net/