Monday, October 19, 2009

Review: Jeff Larson "Heart of the Valley"

The latest from singer/songwriter Jeff Larson is called "Heart of the Valley", and boasts songs, production, and performances from Gerry Beckley (America). Many of the songs are penned by Beckley, with a couple co-written with Larson. The chemistry of this collaboration is noticeable right from the start and only gets better as the disc is played again and again.

The first comparison that sprung to my mind was Timothy B. Schmit (Eagles) - Larson weaves his voice so effortlessly around the mellow musical terrain, making "Heart of the Valley" such a gentle treat for tired ears. Even better, these gorgeous songs are grounded with a strong melodic hook and drenched in 70s-inspired harmonies.

A few seconds into the opening strums of the title track and you realize this is a CD to chill out to - it is a perfect accompaniment to your Sunday morning coffee. "Sudden Soldier" is probably my favorite tune in this set, sounding most like a long lost track from America, and not just because Beckley shares the lead vocal with Larson. Other highlights include the upbeat "Minus Marci", the graceful ballad "Calling", and the slow building drama of "Two People At Once".

Jeff Larson has a winner here: smooth rock for adults with a modest country vibe in the spirit of the Eagles, Poco, and America.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 10, 11

Jeff Larson on MySpace. Official site.

Gerry Beckley on MySpace. Official site.

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