Review: Steve Parry, “The Fight Left in Me”
Before you chastise me for writing a review of Steve Parry in an Americana/Roots website, rest assured this is a different Steve Parry. This Steve Parry’s voice carries a leathery grit that I could best describe as a cross between Guy Clark and Jeffrey Foucault. In fact, this Steve Parry is in every way the opposite of his more famous namesake.
I’ve heard Parry perform live several times and was excited to hear his recently-released first CD, The Fight Left in Me. However I was not prepared to be blown away. The song-writing and production are top-rate, as are the backing musicians. Parry’s weathered voice blends especially well with his female back-up singer and a well-placed mandolin.
The Fight Left in Me moves you from tales of broken dreams —“Pocket Full of Dreams” and “So Sings the Cowboy”; to guarded optimism—“Tao of Betsy” & “Hope”— to wistful reflection – “What You Meant to Me” and “Gum on Your Shoe”. One of the disc’s highlights is the darkly humorous “My Name is Martin Gibson”, a song no doubt inspired by Parry’s own naming misfortune. In a rarity, perhaps unheard of for a first effort, every song on the cd works, making it the perfect cd to add to your IPod rotation and listen to the whole way through.
Almost as good as Parry’s well-spun tales is the story of the man himself. Parry is one of those got-laid-off-and-followed-my-dream stories of American folklore. But unlike most become-a-singer dream chasers, Parry has the song-writing chops to pull it off. When this Steve Parry sings of heartbreak and disappointment, you’ll know he’s been there.
There are very few CDs I could hand to any folkie or Americana fan and guarantee them they’ll love it. The Fight Left in Me is one of them. These tunes grab you then continue to grow on you with each listen, much like some of Slaid Cleaves’ best work. Try it out, add it to your IPod rotation for a few days, and let me know what you think.
There’s a new Steve Parry in town and I think you’ll love him.
Note: I haven’t been able to find The Fight Left in Me yet on I-tunes. I’ve been directing my friends to his website, www.stevenparry.com where you can preview some of the tunes before you buy the CD. It’s also available on Amazon.com.