Smooth, Man

Balance (MoonRover Records)
Hunt Sidway

By David Lilly

Just listen to that. The first thing you hear here is the accomplished guitar playing of the man whose fret hand shadows the left side of his face on this disc's front cover. So, is this cover art symbolic of left and right brain hemisphere abilities? Could be, but that remains a mystery.

What comes across throughout the album is that Hunt Sidway writes good songs, plays them well and has talented people working with him. And if introspective lyrics figure into your record buying, you're gonna want this one. Hey, he has a degree in philosophy so don't expect any "ooh, baby baby" stuff or I'll take you snipe hunting.

It's true that this music sounds and feels the way it has been described by others: It is contemporary pop-rock music, though not entirely mainstream. It has a slightly noncommercial edge and the melodies do not sound derivative of anything in particular. For you lyric hounds, "They say that the light/ at the end of the tunnel/ Is sometimes a train headed right your way/ I never knew it could be that way/ I'd always hoped that light was your smile/ Coming here to stay" is from "Train Wreck."

In the title song, Sidway sings, "Gonna walk before I run/ Crawl before I walk/ Learn from all these scars/ And plant my feet squarely on the Rock."

Talk about longing for someone, listen to Sidway sing, "I'd give up all of my guitars/ Even sell my sexy car/ Pawn off all my camera gear/ Amps and bike to have you near," with feeling, in "What I Wouldn't Give." And that only covers his material possessions. The rest of the song takes desire and longing to other levels.

Get further acquainted with Sidway and purchase this CD at http://homepage.mac.com/huntsidway/