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Reviews - Gabriel Gordon - Glide Magazine

As the lead guitarist for Natalie Merchant’s live band the past six years, Gabriel Gordon has laid the harmony to one of rock’s most recognizable voices. When he’s not touring the country with Merchant, Gordon spends time traveling the globe - visualizing, writing and putting his life experiences to his own voice. Sure, like any singer-songwriter, Gordon has a lot to say, but adapts his words over slick soulful rock, sort of like what Terrence Trent D’Arby did back in the late eighties and early nineties.

On Gypsy Living, Gordon’s fourth album for Surprise Truck Records, bassist Andy Hess (Gov’t Mule), keyboardist Deron Johnson (Miles Davis, Seal) and drummer Tony Mason (Joan Osborne) are enlisted to polish out the sound of this autobiographical collection of 14 songs. From the onset it’s hard not to realize that Gordon is a soul searching journeyman, as songs like “Gypsy Living,” “We’re Moving,” “Find A Way,” “Time To Get Away,” and “Home,” revolve around similar themes of finding peace with oneself despite whatever intuitive decisions Gordon has made along the way. As he states in the title track, “gypsy living and constant moving may someday take its toll, but the other side of the coin can save you soul.” It’s weighing these pros and cons of his lyrical diary that make the album voyeuristically interesting atop a voice of quiet strength.

As for the music, there’s no mistaken identity here. Adult rock, lush guitars, bubbly keyboards, floating harmonies, which even at times make Natalie Merchant sound heavy appear throughout. The standout track “Easy With You,” Gordon’s groovy ode to love, is a pick-me-upper as Gordon proclaims, “No one said it would be easy, but it’s easy with you” atop its radio friendly beat.

Clearly this is a well-produced effort with standout moments, but Gypy Living feels light musically, despite the weight of Gordon’s lyrics. As you move to the second half of the album, all of the slick “finding,” “falling,” and first person tunes either hit or miss with the listener. Sometimes contact is made, while other times you are left looking for more weight amidst the thoughtful commentary.

- Shane Handler

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