Jason Darling grew up around Woodstock. Yes, the older Woodstock, not the “mud people” NIN-memorable version. But don’t let that fool you, there’s no retro-hippie vibe here. Just a collection of decent pop-rock numbers like the radio-friendly “Wind” and the tender, roots-based “Always” that features a pretty harmony. Darling seems to make the most of each song, although “Flowers” tends to wilt near the homestretch. A better effort comes along during the slow, mournful “Thief”, despite the rather ordinary lyrical content. Think of a George Harrison C-side and it should become clearer. There’s also a certain hint at early Pink Floyd which becomes readily apparent with a cover of Floyd’s “Fearless”, that takes the song up a notch or two in terms of tempo. It’s a credible rendition though. Meanwhile, “Systems” is a piano-driven pop tune that has a nice hook and is not overtly edgy. Another gem, and maybe the crowning achievement on the album, has to be the very barren “Top of Her Stars”, with its Lanois-like production. It could also be mistaken for something left off of Tom Petty’s She’s the One soundtrack. Unfortunately, Darling lets the air out of the album with a terribly slow and rather aimless “Hold On”.
// Notes from the Road
"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.READ the article