Close to Home
From this seasoned musician and dedicated artist comes a most noteworthy contribution to the world's ears and your CD collection. Michael Frey's 'Close To Home' is an inspired collection of the best of his newer songs and his first album in several years. Long awaited by his fans, this recording spans an appealing variety: from one song to the next you hear accordion, mandolin, Hammond organ, frailing banjo, electric guitar, piano, sax, lap steel, bass and percussion. Always at the center of the mix is Michael's masterful acoustic guitar and resonant voice. His guitar work, both fingerstyle and flatpicked, is solid, complex and sensitive, and he's a warm, natural, inventive singer. Hints of The Band, Bruce Cockburn, Ry Cooder, David Wilcox and others may come to mind, but the end result is purely Michael Frey. Frey has spent most of his adult life in California and the Southwest, with forays in Britain, Ireland and Washington, DC; this may account for the freely eclectic quality of his music. But he grew up in the southern air of Florida's Gulf coast and Louisiana's Cajun country, and these roots add a special depth and earthy color to the mix. The songs on 'Close To Home' tell about the passage of time, about beauty, loss, inspiration, and life's universal quandaries. There's one about that almighty dollar, one about starting late in life, one about the old hometown being changed forever by 'progress'. There are songs about how love can heal, how it can fool you, how sweet it can be. And tales that take you across the open plains, into red rock canyons, down along the bayou, and home again. From thoughtful to playful, funky to elegant, the music of Michael Frey is, in the words of music critic Josef Woodard, 'a listener-friendly package'. And guitarist John O'Connor (Higher Octave Records) says these songs 'just get better with repeated listening'. You're invited to get 'Close To Home' and see (hear) what they mean. ************ CD Review By Walt Rego in the Santa Barbara Independent, Jan. 9, 2003 'Michael Frey has been one of Santa Barbara's more predictably enjoyable and kindly songsters for years, and his new CD is a good primer in the range of his work. Folk may be his general purpose category, but Frey freely surfs other subcategories, from James Taylor-colored tunesmithing to easy-does-it New Orleans music sauce on 'Chasin' That Dollar Down' and 'The Bayou Teche.' Romantic escapist instincts, and a nice chordal twist, prevail on 'Way Out in the Desert' and a nice Band-ish tang shows up on 'Nothing Love Wouldn't Cure' and 'Late Bloomer.' A fine guitar player who resists the temptation to overplay, Frey sings without pretense and colors these tracks with contributions from some of the finest players on the block, including Brian Mann on organ and Bill Flores on this and that.' --Walt Rego, Santa Barbara Independent.