Stevie Cornell

Stevie Cornell

Stevie Cornell

(Stephen Cornell)

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A great shimmery 50’s torch song “If Cryin’ is a Crime,” goes into a Beatlesque “I Couldn’t Reach You,” with a deceptive snare and pedal steel, begin Stevie Cornell’s self-titled album.  Returning to music after twenty decades, this singer-songwriter-instrumentalist comes by way of both the East Bay 70’s punk band Young Adults and later as a founding member of 80’s top San Francisco Americana band the Movie Stars, here we get Cornell back doing what he really does best.

You really could pick any of these twelve and sit yourself right down on a gem, this man can write and his simple arrangements are pretty much perfect. I just love the love song “Hope Came By Today,” employing, as he does throughout the album, a perfect Everly Brother’s-like harmony, along with the magic this man layers seemingly so effortlessly on his productions.

He then matches this sweet love song with the slow key plodding “Black Hole in My Heart,” and delivers later some Byrds jangle on “Whispering Wind,”

The album picks up on the jaunty electric “Feet First,” with a super wry lyric, Cornell delivering with his tongue perfectly and firmly stuck in his cheek. He manages some very effective guitar leading here as well. In all the catchy melodies, his honest voice and simple solid song-smithing, you may overlook how powerful and fine a guitar player Cornell is.

Piano leads Cornell’s soft, almost crying vocal, in the perfect song “Sarah,” and the whole brew ends, again in a mid-tempo little ditty, “Just A Phase.” A gorgeous and lush album, you really are not going to get any better that Stevie Cornell.

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