Drew Danburry “Pallid Boy and Spindling Girl EP” (Independent, 2019)

“The children are called in from their play to drive and drudge beside their elders to and from their pitiful homes …. nearly any hour you can see them – pallid boy and spindling girl – their faces dulled, their backs bent under a heavy load of garments piled on head and shoulders, the muscles of the whole frame in a long strain…” Observed in New York City by poet Edwin Markham in 1907, and quoted in Howard Zinn’s classic text A People’s History of The United States, this signposts that Drew Danburry is a thinker.

Likely also somebody searching for titles, with 20 full-length albums and 13 EP’s already released. Mainly historical though, as in 2010, he went to barber school, and ended up with his own full-time establishment, with a little music on the side. He is moving on from that phase and returns with a brief EP reestablishing his mastery of song-craft and emotion. Lead off track ‘Mediocrity’ is a stunning self-reflective study of how it is when being an icon doesn’t lead to success. “… and its mediocrity, something most of us are sharing, and our insecure comparing yields pain”, “… and the mirror doesn’t look good and the years stretch strange behind me, and the future dark and unseen looks bleak”. Pure poetry, and poignant not just for musicians, but for anyone of a certain age. The words are matched by a delicate melody, which starts quietly, builds cleverly to full band then back down to acoustic.

The short and sweet ‘1996’ is straight indie-pop, superficially jaunty, but again lyrically questioningly reflective. The gentle ‘Broken’ lulls with pleading vocals and keening harmonica.

Three classic songs are complemented by three more downbeat, less tonal pieces to complete a strong release. Danburry held these tracks to be a final punctuation to his arduous musical journey, and sold most of his gear once done. Now he has moved on to a new life chapter, he started writing again. More please.

Tender, masterful songcraft
8/10

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