Learning To Dance
Blu Elan Records/Hemifran
Easy Listening Americana of the Highest Quality.
You’ve not heard of Jack Tempchin, have you? Me neither; but we know an awful lot of his songs as he is the man who wrote Someone That You Used to Know for George Jones, East of Eden for Tom Rush and most notably Peaceful, Easy Feeling for the Eagles among many others.
So with that CV you have to take him seriously, don’t you?
Learning To Dance is actually Jack’s eighth solo album and the first to cross my path; but I’ve fallen in love with it over the last few weeks.
The album opens with the title track, and by the third bar you know you are going to be in for a lovely, comfortable ride. Certainly not as ‘edgy’ or ‘introverted’ as most singer-songwriters that I hear; but he has a way with words that combine to create a very memorable story. The ‘big’ production took a bit of getting used to; but I now like the ‘epic’ quality to it.
Love and lass play a big part in a lot of Tempchin’s songs; and there’s nothing wrong with that in my book; especially when they sound as good as Love’s First Lesson (Is a Broken Heart) and the delightful Ain’t Nobody Like You.
On the more spartan Living This Love, Jack Tempchin gets to show what a wonderful voice he has. With mostly, only a piano accompaniment the singer gets to live the song through his worn and warm voice; making me hope for a lot more like it.
While a couple of tracks try to be a bit too ‘poppy’ for my liking; Mrs. Magpie had no complaints; and we are both in agreement that the standout track is Big Sky Country. This version has another ‘epic’ production and it works; reminding me of James Taylor and Glen Campbell. Back in the day; but it also sounds like it could easily be stripped back to the bone and be just as powerful.
The album closes with the rather lovely Room To Run; which sounds just perfect for AOR Radio; if it still exists.
So; after 40 years as a very successful songwriter (and singer) it falls on me to hail this album; and Jack Tempchin, an ‘overnight success’!
Released September 2015