Friday, May 12, 2017

David Starr – The Head and Heart

David Starr – The Head and Heart
With Arkansas roots and Colorado wings, David Starr has been making music since the age of 10. He is an Americana singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer with hundreds of live shows and seven releases under his belt both as a solo artist. Starr was awarded the Hotdisc Top 40 Most Successful International Artist of 2016 by participating UK DJ's and radio programmers.  Love and Sabotage was also reviewed very favorably by Glasgow's Paul Kerr in Blabber and Smoke in May of 2016.
He has a new six-song EP entitled The Head And Heart produced and arranged by John Oates, and this is review and a look at the songs, which features a surprisingly cool re-worked cover of the Mamas and the Papas classic “California Dreaming.” And it’s not only a highlight, but a bold effort to do something different with the well-known folk-heavy monster. And to get right to the tracks it comes off slowly but surely with “Edge Of The World” with its sad but enlightening lyrics about angels and redemption. This actually reminds me of Billy Joel’s “She’s Always A Woman.” And the great thing is that it gives him a run for his money. It could just be me, but that’s what I take away from it.

“The Head and Heart” keeps the same intentions but goes a little deeper and probably gets the best message across on the EP, which if were an album would just be twice as good. But being an EP, it manages to pull off all of the more power in one little package. It even questions the lack of EP appeal when that happens. I just don’t find that many prolific artists doing EP’s, but maybe that is changing. I still like full albums but this provides no skippers. And it is another good song but takes nothing away from the rest. But I think he could’ve named the EP after any of these tracks and kept the same meaning.

It almost gets smothered by the next track, the cover of “California Dreaming” but once the dream is over, it comes right back to mind. And that is a testament to it. But moving right along this is an extraordinary cover with sweeping violins and a slower, but much more powerful and even almost scary in some parts. It’s like making another song out of it, and doing it as well as the original without disgracing its standards. This isn’t always done with such great results but when it is, you get something not only refreshing, but way outside the box. And you have to credit David Starr for doing something brave and not pulling off a massacre at the same time.

It’s like he approaches his originals, with that same integrity. It’s not easy following up such a peaking point as that, but “Waiting In The Dark” keeps it real with a few welcoming bursts of excitement to bring you out of the trance of the previous animal. It keeps things as fresh as possible and quickly makes you forget you just listened to something that is now around fifty years old. But you’re still in the same century on what is essentially a track about getting tired of being alone. And it might just be me, but this is another one of the best tracks. They all have something compelling about them. But if you’re anything like me, this one stands on top.

“I’ve Come For You” takes on another good notch of the same caliber with its quieter but by no means weaker or less meaningful vocals. It’s a lot more blunt in getting its message across but doesn’t show any less spirit from Starr, with its vibrant but aware of the shadows mentality. It keeps things rocking a little into the finale, which slows back down a little on “Dancing With My pride,” but it also brings everything back into perspective, as it closes with class. And that is what this EP seems to be most fortified with, and you can’t help but feel that John Oates it more present than it appears. But that also should be attributed to the long way David Starr has come by dancing with his own pride.


Kevin Webber

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