If you spin
Artist: Geoff Elvee.
Album: "Big Wheels."
Highs: The topics are genuine and universal, ranging from the Iraq war to career struggles, and the production is polished.
Lows: Elvee is positioned halfway between a traditional and modern sound, so both camps might overlook him.
Spin for Yourself
Geoff Elvee song samples from his CD "Big Wheels" (2008)
full length audio files
» Big Wheels (click to listen)
» Hard Road to Heaven (click to listen)
» Blood in the Sand (click to listen)
All files used with permission.
The best song on Geoff Elvee's second album will give you shivers of home-state pride as he drops Minnesota references from pelicans to the IDS Center. It certainly sets a more upbeat mood than "The Heroes Always Die" from his 2005 debut, "It's About Time."
But "Hello Minnesota" is a thematic exception on the just-released "Big Wheels." The deep-voiced Elvee's lyrics are mostly about, as his liner notes put it, "being alone, backbreaking labor, miles of driving (and) way too much anxiety."
Catering to fans of "The Heroes Always Die," Elvee - formerly of Crosslake, now living in Plymouth - delivers the self-explanatory "He's Home From Iraq (But He's Not Back Yet)" and "Blood in the Sand." The latter cribs from Rod Stewart's "Every Picture Tells a Story," giving a series of observations on the Iraq war before breaking into an emotional chorus.
The title track and "Hard Road to Heaven" call to mind the "backbreaking labor" aspect of Elvee's inspiration, but on "The Outlaw," he shows that the music industry can chip away at your resolve just like trucking or roof-tarring.
Elvee will likely run into roadblocks to the mainstream because his music falls halfway between old and new country. The themes are traditional - "Old School" is a non-apology for digging legends like Merle Haggard - but the music relies on modern, drum-based hooks.
Elvee has become a more a polished musician without leaving his original path.
Geoff Elvee will perform at 1 p.m. Saturday at Cowboy & Hobo Days at the Brainerd fairgrounds and 9 p.m. Saturday at the Manhattan Beach Lodge.
On the Web:
JOHN HANSEN may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5863.
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