Release Date: October 20, 2012
Cameron House Records; 12 Tracks
Review by: Lee Fraser
The Devin Cuddy Band is releasing their debut album so you better get your dancing shoes and throw on an old cowboy hat if you've got one. It's a buffet of country-related musical styles and every song has a story to tell.
The fourth release by the small but earnest Cameron House Records is a compilation of 12 tunes by vocalist/pianist Devin Cuddy. After spending countless nights developing and polishing these songs at the Cameron House, Cuddy demonstrates his appreciation for many old time musical styles and the art of story telling on his debut album.
There are storylines about everything from getting over past romances to serving in the military to accepting a son’s sexual preferences. The album opens (and almost closes) with reminiscences while being a strong indicator of what you're in for; lively foot-stomping melodies, plenty of highly skilled guitar playing (by label-mate Nichol Robertson), and the ambiance of a good old party in the Cameron House front room. The penultimate track, "Signal Hill", is a swoon-worthy waltz set against the backdrop of Saint John's, Newfoundland. It's an evocative lament about a time gone by, a tune that might make you recall a time when your parents waltzed around the kitchen.
Cuddy has a playful respect for lyrics and melody, playing up the story-telling with his piano playing. On the second track, "She Ain't Crying Over Me", the piano trips and stumbles mimicking the subject of the song as "she starts to fall onto the ground", while the guitar soldiers on, representing the narrator moving on from that relationship.
This album might be considered a study in country and country-related styles, including bluegrass, waltz, two-step and even a bit of swing. Cuddy's voice varies from a clear, belting tenor to a gravelly voice full of bourbon and break-ups, to something akin to spoken word in "Afghanistan" and "I Got a Girl". You might get the impression that Devin Cuddy is an old grizzled cowboy by listening to this album, but other than being a cowboy at heart, the description has no truth to it. He's got character in his voice like Harry Connick Jr. and a talent to surround himself with musicians who compliment the loose and good-natured character of the song-writing.
You can catch The Devin Cuddy Band at one of their CD Release shows at the Cameron House on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Appealing to an audience that is comprised of a broad age range, the band is playing two shows that night; one at 6 pm and a later show at 10 pm that includes label-mate, Whitney Rose, as an opening act.