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Bob Delevante

Porchlight – 1999 (Relay)

Reviewed by Eli Messinger

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CDs by Bob Delevante

After two albums with his brother Mike, singer-songwriter-guitarist Bob Delevante took time out for his first solo project. Gone are the Everlyesque harmonies of The Delevantes, giving way to some adventurous production touches and guests like Buddy Miller and Emmylou Harris.

Delevante's lyrics continue to explore one's internal and external journeys, often describing life lived at a distance, chasing the horizon on an endless journey to an ever-receding goal. "1000 Miles" and "Broken Kite" offer such physical metaphors, while "Why Don't You Love Me," beautifully augmented by Harris, struggles along the ephemeral distance of lost love. "Porchlight" takes an optimistic view of the destination, and "You Worry Too Much" is a memo from the songwriter to himself. "Count Your Blessings" closes the album with the self-realization that the true destination is often at hand. Delevante's ideas are complex, but rendered with a clarity revealing multiple shades of meaning.

As a producer, Delevante flecks his sound (often compared to that of the Bodeans) with a variety of ideas, including wah-wah guitar, harmonium and assorted percussion knick-knacks. His flexible voice can be warbly like The Undertones' Feargal Sharkey or suave like Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler. Though his solo work lacks the playful charm of The Delevantes, it retains the thoughtfulness that earns it a repeated spin.