From the Cubicle to the Stage

The October Sky (Rebuilt Records)

Jon Black

By Kory Wilcoxson

Jon Black's press kit tells a familiar story: Fed up with his stint in the corporate world, Black left his cubicle behind to take his chances with his music. It's an inspiring story that's been told again and again in that "if only it had worked" tone of lament. But based on the quality of "The October Sky," Black may be singing a different tune.

You'd expect someone in Black's situation to try to hard to win you over - his next meal depends on it. Yet Black doesn't try to be more than he is - a folksy singer-songwriter who knows when to go sparse (the haunting "All I Need") and when to notch it up (the excellent "Pills to Help Me Sleep"). Black's music accomplishes a lot on "October Sky," but he never seems to force his easy style. It's his unassuming presence that makes Black's music so likeable.

His songwriting abilities help invite you closer. He has a way of stating his limits that help you identify with him, as on "Glory Hallelujah": "There's a million other people from here to Amsterdam/ And a million other singers who sing better than I can/ That's alright, cause you're here with me tonight."

That kind of refreshing lack of pretense give Black an immediate appeal, simply because of his honesty. None of the songs are spectacular, but they are all solid and October Sky is a disc that is easily enjoyed.

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