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Derek Larson / Blog

Review for "Takers and Leavers"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- {Review} Derek Larson-Takers and Leavers Posted by Brad Beheler on Tue, July 12, 2011 · Album Reviews · Leave a comment A few months ago we received Derek Larson’s album, Takers and Leavers. It immediately caught my ears and we promptly placed a track from it, “Barnyard Romp” on The Drop. As the months passed, I kept casually listening to the album when it would pop up on my iPod and each time it would cross my path I’d make a mental note to delve into the album deeper. My initial reaction to this album was well-warranted…it’s an outstanding and refreshing original collection. The first thing the listener notices when listening to this record is the blazing tenor of Larson’s voice. While the music is distinctly blues-soaked country, his voice is most definitely rock n’ roll. It features hints of the power of Robert Plant, small bits of the shriek of Sebastian Bach and heaping doses of the attitude and phrasing of Chris Robinson. The music is driven by acoustic instruments and has a folk quality but it’s not ever quite that simple. Just when you think you’ve got an idea where Larson and his compadres are headed musically they make a quick left turn and shake things up. The lyrical themes are standard country, folk tales dealing with love, love lost, raising hell and reaching for that elusive amazing grace. The rolling acoustic riffs found in the aforementioned “Barnyard Romp” are indicative of the best of this album. The song is reminiscent of Days of the New’s “Touch, Peel, and Stand”. The guitars intertwine with a roaring harmonica that combine to give the girl in the lyrics the ultimate kiss goodbye. On “If That’s Alright”, Larson delivers his most provocative vocal as he showcases both strength and vulnerability in alternate lines. “Too Fast” might just be the best song of the bunch. A wistful take on life, Larson sings lines such as “I take myself seriously about half the time…and the one thing I trust in this world is my guitar…” over a gentle melody that builds and is supported by delicate organ fills. The harmonies and haunting melody of “Blindman” remind one of Fleetwood Mac’s zenith output. And so it goes with most of these tunes. They remind you of something from years past while sounding ever so current. That’s a tribute to Larson and his backing musicians. He’s written songs that are timeless and delivered them with a band that made the music stand up to the ideas in his head and pen.