[26 January 2009]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
Song Sung Blue is a collection of tracks recorded by Tony Dekkar to serve as a soundtrack for Greg Kohs’ documentary of the same name, which tells the story of Lightning & Thunder, a husband-wife Neil Diamond tribute band. The disc starts with a cover of Diamond’s “Song Sung Blue” by Dekkar’s band, Great Lake Swimmers, and that track alone is worth the price of admission. Their version remains true to the original, while the band’s threadbare folk sound and Dekkar’s lilting vocals lend their own bittersweet touch to the song. From there, the disc offers eight instrumental pieces written by Dekkar, which are nearly as affecting as the cover. Through the simply plucked guitar of “The Dream”, or the warm vocal harmonies of “Eyes on the Prize”, these works and full of space and soaked in feeling. That most of the tracks stay at or under two minutes make the EP seem fleeting, and in that way this music is still reliant on the film to bring out its full power. But this is still a beautiful, if brief, offering from Dekkar, and will surely hold fans over until the next Great Lake Swimmers record.