Songs From Those Days

Kent Heckaman

Kent Heckaman Productions, 2008

http://www.kentheckaman.com

REVIEW BY: Michael Ehret

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2008

Kent Heckaman’s second release, Songs From Those Days, takes him several steps in a new direction from his debut, 2002’s Transitions. That first disc was an instrumental piece, heavy on the Wyndham Hill influences.

For Songs…, Heckaman has added vocalists for the majority of the pieces, including an appearance by Karin Bergquist of the Cincinnati, Ohio-based alt-folk band Over The Rhine. Bergquist’s vocals, unfortunately, like the discs’ overall sound, sound like they’re coming out of a well.

my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But that is one of the few faults I find with Heckaman’s disc and, since it is an indie production and self-produced, it’s hard to hold that against him too much. Fans of Tori Amos and Norah Jones will find much to like here, as Heckaman displays a lot of the same ambient melancholy, as those artists.

Heckaman, who still lives in the northern Indiana town he was raised in, studied classical composition on piano for ten years and then jazz composition for five – and both show. For instance, in the instrumental “Stauffer Park,” I can hear echoes of Herbie Hancock (especially from Hancock’s latest, River: The Joni Letters, Grammy’s Album of the Year for 2007) wrapped in a classical structure.

Heckaman says his influences are as diverse as Elton John, Pink Floyd, Pat Metheny, and Brian Eno – and his cover of John’s “I’ve Seen That Movie Too” from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is certainly a faithful interpretation. For that song and a couple others, Kate Myers, Valparaiso, Ind., serves as narrator. Myers never apes John, and, in fact, she brings some unexpected grace to the tale of lovers who are “making nice” even while knowing the relationship is over.

Another fine song on the disc is a cover of Three Dog Night’s “Pieces Of April,” which brings out the buried beauty of the song in a version sans the schmaltz of the original. Neal Alger’s guitar work nicely compliments the vocals by Heather Horton while Heckaman provides the piano bed. 

The disc is available from his Web site or visit his MySpace page for samples.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Comments









© 2008 Michael Ehret and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Kent Heckaman Productions, and is used for informational purposes only.