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Friday, August 3, 2007

Paul Baribeau: Grand Ledge (2007)

I’ve seen Paul Baribeau play twice now in Santa Barbara. He screams his big heart out about two feet away from me and for those twenty minutes of his set I cannot see anything else. If you haven’t heard of him it is about time you did. Using just his voice and an acoustic guitar his self-titled debut was recorded in one night and was filled with desperate, vulnerable songs about girls, old bands and his home in Michigan. Last year we were able to see the more random and humorous side of Paul Baribeau in his second album 25 (note: It has great keyboard jams like “Star Trippin” and a damn fine cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road”). Now in 2007 we get to listen to his true follow up to his passionate debut. This is where Grand Ledge comes in. Named after a city in Michigan it is a perfectly appropriate title for this album all about memories and musings about his life there. This album is different than his others. There is more confidence in his voice this time around. He knows he has an audience this time and he has stories to tell us. And boy are they stories. There is the instant classic “Ten Things,” a song written due to frustration with people who fail to see perspective in there life. ‘Try to list the endless reasons why it's good to be alive/and then just smile for awhile about them,” Paul breathlessly commands; and we follow. “Hard Work” is a fantastically simple song about distracting yourself from failed love and bad dreams. It recalls all too familiar and painful memories hearing, “let a song on the radio make me cry/ some girl I don’t even know drive me crazy”. This whole album does not mess with the acoustic guitar and voice formula, but in it’s simplicity we can see that Paul has a greater sense of how to capture our imaginations, and our hearts. “Don’t let it be the last time, you come into my life,” Paul asks us in “Last Time” and we cry out that we won’t ever let him go. Then you realize that you are sitting at home listening to this amazing little record, but for a small time you were transported across the Midwest to Grand Ledge.

Hard Work

No Idea Records: Grand Ledge here
Plan-it-x: Order the first album here


Ginny said...

Nice! Paul Baribeau's album is really amazing.

cmanners said...

Very well written review. I love Paul's music, the new Grand Ledge album is fabulous. Does anyone know if any of these will be released on vinyl?

Steven Ray Morris said...

thank you for the kind words. I wish this stuff could be out on vinyl!

Anonymous said...

I cannot find '25' anywhere... makes me sad.