There is something musically pure about a lone man strumming away on an acoustic guitar. It’s as though the listener gets a dedicated connection to the artist’s soul. This kind of solo act is something that I witness quite often in Melbourne’s city – modern day troubadours singing to their hearts content, trying to make a living, or perhaps releasing some tremendous emotional burden. The obvious problem with this type of performance is that without other instruments to add complexity and interest, the voice of the vocalist must be of an excellent standard; there are no textures or beats that might hide mistakes or a sub standard performance. Fortunately for us this review is about someone who couldn’t be a poor vocalist if he tried – say hello to Geoff Ereth!
Geoff hails from southern California – a land I know very little about although I am led to believe that there is no shortage of the infamous Starbucks coffee outlets. Geoff has been a lover of music all his life, participating in everything from choirs and barbershop quartets to garage bands. And today, at 22 years of age, he has created this very impressive self-titled CD.
Make no mistake, Geoff’s voice is impressive! It’s charismatic and warm whilst somehow conveying a tragic undercurrent. When I think about what a good voice is (or how it can be defined), it comes down to three essential attributes: tone, dynamic and pitch. Geoff has deftly mastered all three. Tonally his voice is friendly & attractive – I liked it immediately. He can manipulate his vocal chords to project everything from the smooth to raspy. Moreover he is utterly convincing with all dynamic ranges from a gentle whisper to a passionate full-bodied bellow. I was reminded of some of my favourite male vocalists: Jeff Buckley, Sting & Thom York. If I were to criticize anything I’d have to say that Geoff tends to use falsetto a little too much. Don’t get me wrong; he’s very good at projecting in his higher register. I just believe that almost everything in music can be over saturated if the artist isn’t careful.
Geoff’s album consists of 7 solid songs, each having a unique character and style. After listening many times to the entire album I can confidently say that every track features clever and interesting chord progressions, skillful, passionate and error free guitar playing, timely changes of tone and structure, and of course, Geoff’s excellent sense of melody and thematic progression. I really can’t fault his song craftsmanship. Instead, I can only spitefully whisper the word *bastard* under my breath in a fit of wild jealousy!
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this world when it comes to loving acoustic music, but I just love the ‘mood’ (for want of a better word). Here in Geoff’s showcase we hear the sweet melancholy of “Aria”, the more intellectual and possibly introspective “True Love” & “My Star Crossed Lover”, and the deceitful carefree laziness of “Madeline” and “Along Roads”. And yes, it’s easy to see that most, if not all of the tracks on this album are about love. Personally I felt that the strongest tracks were “Aria”, “My Star Crossed Lover” and “True Love” – all three of which are very good at making the listener really connect and feel; you cannot ask for more.
There’s really nothing else to say about this album. If you’re a fan of acoustic music, particularly music that focuses on the sadness, loss and love then definitely check out Geoff Ereth and buy his album. I give this 7.5/10.
For more information go to: http://www.mp3.com/ge