This Dance by Teague Alexy (2012. Consider It Correspondence Music.)

So my twenty-four year old son Chris buys me a great locally produced (home-grown if you will) CD by The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. I write a review and post it on this little blog. One half of the Nephews emails his appreciation and asks me to give a listen to his new solo CD. I agree. And here we are.

There’s much to like on Teague Alexy’s This Dance. First off, if you’re like me, and you enjoy the whimsy of say, Randy Newman, with a bit of Greg Brown growl thrown in for good measure, than you’re gonna love Teague’s voice. If not, too bad. Why? Well, because this new release is so chock full of great guitar licks and well constructed songs, that if you don’t like Teague’s voice (as I said, I do), you might make a mistake and tune out. That would be a shame because, as the title to this review says quite plainly, this is music that even old men will like.

“The Raggedy Hat of John Henry” kicks off this assortment of blues and folk tunes (all originals, which is another damn reason to buy the CD: folks who do their own dirty work deserve to be rewarded). It’s a fine song standing on its own but as a lead in to the rest of this musical adventure, it’s a great choice. You see, making albums (yes, even in these days of MP3’s, I still consider a release by a musician to be, in the parlance of old hippies, “an album”) isn’t just pressing tunes into pieces of plastic and hawking them at your next gig. It’s about pulling out all stops to say something, to create something lasting. That’s the thing: Alexy’s latest effort does that with seamless effort.

This isn’t to say we’re talking vintage Bob Dylan here, though, given the breadth of the playing, writing, and singing on this release, it’s a comparison that could be made. Such praise might not hold up to close scrutiny but, given the strength of most of the cuts on this CD, there are similarities to be noted between the bard of Hibbing and the ongoing development of this young singer-songwriter. A good example of the level of musical prowess that weaves its way through the songs in this collection can be found on “Mainline” where a jangly banjo adds a bluegrass flare to a nice little ditty that, while it won’t change the world or start a revolution, is pleasing to the ears.

All in all, this is a good, solid bit of songwriting and music making from one of Duluth’s up and comers. You can catch Teague live, at the CD release show for This Dance at the new saloon in town, Tycoons, on April 28th. The time hasn’t been set (at least as of the writing of this review) so keep an eye out for updates and head down to Old Downtown to get your bogey on.

4 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

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