Midnight Souvenirs

Peter Wolf

Verve, 2010


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Peter Wolf roomed with eclectic film maker David Lynch while in school, married (and divorced) actress Faye Dunaway, and fronted the legendary J. Geils Band for close to sixteen years (1967-1989). He still unites with the band every now and then, and they will pair with Aerosmith in Boston’s Fenway Park on August 14th, 2010.

Wolf has now returned with his seventh solo album and first in over seven years. It was well worth the wait, as in my view, it takes its place as one of the better releases of the year thus far.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

While he is now reaching the traditional age of retirement, Midnight Souvenirs proves there is a lot of life left in this old rock ‘n’ roll dinosaur.

The album is grounded in the type of melodic rock that made him famous, but he stretches out into some blues and a little country along the way. He voice is still a fine instrument and his songwriting ability remains superb, and he co-wrote twelve of the fourteen tracks here.

While a number of strong up-tempo rock tracks grace the album, it is the three ballads with vocal duets that are at the heart of the release. Wolf wisely intersperses them throughout the album; they are the first, last, and sixth tracks.

The ballads deal with love, mortality, and relationships, which have served as recent themes for Wolf. “Tragedy,” with guest vocalist Shelby Lynne, is a slow country blues piece that explores the theme of romantic turmoil. The true highlight of the album is “The Green Fields Of Summer,” where he shares the vocal duties with Neko Case – and the lady can really sing. It is a smooth flowing ballad, combing his thoughts and feelings about relationships and mortality into a tale of hope and contentment. Meanwhile, e unites with one of his musical idols, Merle Haggard, for the album ending “It’s Too Late For Me.” Haggard sounds better than I have heard him in years, and their voices mesh well on this mellow song.

The rest of the album rocks along well. “I Don’t Wanna Know,” “Watch Her Move,” “There’s Still Time,” and a bluesy cover of Alan Toussaint’s “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky” are filled with energy. “The Night Comes Down” is a poignant tribute for Willy Deville.

Midnight Souvenirs moves Peter Wolf to the head of the class of 2010. If this album is any indication, his concert at Fenway Park will be a homerun.

Rating: A-

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