CD REVIEW: A fine whisper from Professor Louie
By: Nikki M. Mascali
Weekender Associate Editor
It is hard to improve upon music by The Band, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, but Professor Louie and The Crowmatix Aaron Professor Louie Hurwitz, Miss Marie, Gary Burke, Frank Campbell and Josh Colow do just that on Whispering Pines.
The CD gets a lush start with the title track, written by The Bands Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson. With Louies heartbreaking vocals, the song is reminiscent of Manuals lead vocals on The Bands I Shall Be Released. It is a heavy start, but foreshadows the greatness to come.
Such as the funky follower, Nightime In the Switchin Yard, a Warren Zevon cover that makes you want to dance. Between Midnight & Two is a haunting track that pairs Louies vocals well with Miss Maries. The repetitive lyric I dream in blue / between midnight and two is peppered with delicious horns.
A cover of Leonard Cohens In My Secret Life is emotive, with sweeping piano, haunting harmonica and Miss Maries heartbreaking vocals delivering lyrics like, I miss you so much/ There is no one in sight/ And we are still making love/ In my secret life.
A live cover of The Bands classic The Weight is an easy standout and almost as rollicking as the original. The song was recorded live as part of The New York State Museums concert series Spirit of the Woodstock Generation. A churchy live version of Aint No More Cane, a song Louie learned from The Bands Rick Danko, is fantastic with great acoustic guitar by guest Artie Traum.
As on all tracks on Whispering Pines, the music on Dylans Serve Somebody is outstanding and the blues country waltz Forever & Ever is gorgeous with its cascading piano, shakers and help from the Virginia Youth Symphony Orchestra ensemble. You know that I love you/ from the bottom of my heart/ If you dont love me/ why did you start? Louie sadly wonders.
The closer, Melody Of Peace, expands the tenderness on a much grander scale, perhaps because it was recorded in Prague, Czech Republic, with the Czech Radio Symphony and Kuhn Choir. Silver bells ring in the mist, See the snow cover everything in white, Hear a distant choir harmonize/ telling stories that the world can be alright, Louie sings, and it is a stunning end to a 10-song stunner.
Rating: W W W W 1/2
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