Saturday, 2 November 2013

David Munyon - Purple Cadillac

Soothing and Moving

As the NSA was surreptitiously [pre Snowden!] listening in on Angela Merkel in Germany, it’s a great shame they didn’t also pick up on another important resident there, ex-pat and apparently hidden fellow-son David Munyon, because frankly he could use the exposure for the folks back home, no matter how disreputable the finding.

Munyon is as authentic a singer-songwriter as they come, and whilst the Germans and others throughout Europe are privileged to know and recognise his talent, he would appear to be relatively unheard of and beneath the musical radar back home in the States, to continue the contemporary allusion just a little more. His current release Purple Cadillacs is a beautifully simple and yet rich set of self-penned songs, some from an impressive back catalogue for a revisit here, like the wonderful Song For Danko and Rosa’s Cantina.

David Munyon’s vocal is a distinctively inflected drawl that narrates his stories in a low register that warms like someone uttering universal truths completely devoid of showmanship. They can be endearingly homespun as with fifth track Kansas, telling the tale of bible reading Gladys who leaves Milwaukie aged 15 to drive her DeSoto to Kansas where the buffalo roam, and you can’t get more ethnic Midwestern than this. The song goes on to reference David’s grandfather, the Reverend Amer Stocking who preached in Kansas for over 40 years and who also has had a song named after and written about him, but not on this album.

The revisited Prayers of Elvis Presley continues the beautiful renditions, harmony vocals supporting the simple melody, and Help Me Krishna asserts Munyon’s broad but deep spirituality. The music is both soothing and moving because it never tries too hard, and this is its enduring strength. The album closes on the solemn but gorgeous Whenever You Fall In Love Again which is as soothing and moving as the best music can ever be.

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