Bill Passalacqua (Independent)
Bill Passalacqua

By Victoria Moon

As the line continues to blur between country, folk and pop, Bill Passalacqua's stripped-down, independent release is like a welcome breath of fresh air. The songs on this release are pure and simple folk songs with sparse arrangements, rough-edged vocals and clever lyrics. The album starts off with the vengeful "Willie Ford," in which Passalacqua paints a descriptive picture of an old enemy and moves through gentle ballads ("Butterfly," "Jareli's Waltz"), touches on the blues ("Milk Cow Blues") and does a wonderfully humorous turn on the rollicking "You Annoy Me" and "Hey Daddy." The songs are all quite short (all but one are under three minutes) and to the point, making the listener wish for more after the album has ended.

Perhaps the only trouble with Passalacqua's recording (other than the fact that it is still not available on CD), is that to fully enjoy the cassette, it is imperative that you attend one of his live performances as well. Passalacqua last visited Louisville's Twice Told Coffeehouse in late spring, and the humorous stories he tells about each of the songs doubles your appreciation of them, and his live performances add to the cassette's feeling of sitting on someone back porch with a guitar, swapping stories and songs on a warm summer night. By all means, be sure to see Passalacqua the next time he stops in Louisville and enjoy acoustic music the way it should be - simple, unadulterated tunes framing the sort of well-told stories that never grow old.