A Voice of Reason

Can't Tell Left From Right (Independent)
John Burgard & Reed Davis

By David Lilly

There should be more political statements made this way. Judging from the red, white and blue album title, including the words "left" and "right," and the blurb of common sense on the back, one might expect to hear singing of politically oriented lyrics from these Louisville-area mainstays. What's on this CD, though, is (mostly) about fifty-five minutes of soothing acoustic guitar instrumentals. Not just that, but guitar instrumentals that would be right at home in Mister Rogers' Neighborhood or a Peanuts holiday television show. In some peoples' minds, that's pretty cool. If you want to hear about some of the exceptions, meet me in the next paragraph.

Greetings. By the time you get through Toots Theilman's' "Bluesette," you might have settled in for an all-instro album. So, try not to be startled when the clear vocals of the bluesy "Dark Shadows" flow through the speaker. The next song with vocals involves a train; it's another soothing number, and yet is also more than a little erotic. Oh say, can you hear a steamy slow dance number in "Blues in the Night"? "Deal" could pass for a cover of some long-lost Jim Croce outtake. Not quite as catchy as most of his hits, but there is a Croce feel to it. Don't ask me to explain why the catchy and low-key "Walk and Don't Look Back" could be a good campfire or fishing song; just find out for yourself. If you're fishing, remember to sing quietly.

Keep in mind, Can't Tell Left From Right is a great example of minimalism, as there are no drums, bass, keys, horns, synths, samples, xylophones, bongos, banjos, maracas or nothing. Just two guys with acoustic guitars and vocals; that works fine. To obtain a copy or hire these guys,