Broken Down Believers
catalog-no. tx 3018
country/folk - 2001
It's been almost ten years that acoustic string wizard David West had released his last song-oriented solo album - the wonderful ARCANE. Now, after a series of popular instrumental projects, he delivers the successor: BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS. And while David basically re-enters the game where he left with ARCANE in terms of style, he also presents himself as a continually growing artist. To attach the term "seasoned pro" to David West may be accurate considering his great experience and versatility, but it certainly doesn't tell the whole story of this multi-instrumentalist par excellance. David West has matured into a fine singer and songwriter, something that can be heard on BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS. He has stayed true to himself in the process. Mostly, David West still plays acoustic music using a wide range of influences from country, folk, bluegrass and song. And he's a master at what he does. BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS brings us genuine American music with a lot of warmth and expertise.
BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS presents him as an excellent singer and song-writer as well. David has collected a number of original songs for this album and many of them are inspired by experiences and events from his own life. Some were born on his travels through Africa or the Caribbean and his lyrics are marked by thoughtfulness, warmth and intelligence. The ambivalence of modern life manifests itself in the title of the CD and many listeners surely can relate to it. We all have been through it to some degree.
Life is not a piece of cake in these songs and not everyone
is showered with happiness and success on a regular basis. Relationships begin
and end and there are obstacles in your way sometimes. But after wrong decisions
and mishaps there's always a belief in the positive power of the human spirit,
providing a sense of meaning and continuity. BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS seems to
be a good metaphor for life's ambivalence between disappointment and hope.
Again, David West roams the musical regions where he feels home the most on BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS and therefore the album contains country-folk, bluegrass and singer/song-writer material done in a top-notch acoustic manner. There's autobiographical stuff ("Miles From Nowhere", "Stranded"), songs with a Caribbean lilt ("Home To My Heart"), a fingerstyle instrumental ("Taravana"), a Bakersfield country shuffle ("I Thought I Heard You Callin") and more. There's really quite a wide range of different songs to be found on this one, including a couple of selected cover version written by dear friends like ex-Moby Grape Peter Lewis ("That Lost Horizon") and the late Kate Wolf ("You're Not Standing Like You Used To"). David still carries a profound attachment to the music of the latter friend, having been a member of Kate's backing band for a long time.
Whoever remembers the sound of David West's ARCANE album or who's familiar with the Cache Valley Drifters will consider BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS to be another highlight of of country/folk/roots releases. Amongst the friends who contributed to this new album are Peter Lewis, Mary Murphy and Penny Nichols (vocals), ex-Clover/Doobie Brothers John McFee and Jay Dee Maness (pedal steel), Tom Ball (harmonica), Chris Hillman (mandolin, vocals), Byron Berline (fiddle) and Steve Fishell (dobro).
So - what cannot be heard on BROKEN DOWN BELIEVERS? The answer is easy: any musical traces of the Nashville country-pop mainstream, fake emotionalism, production overkill. David West delivers sounds that have all the truly essential qualities for any real music of this kind. It's a relaxed, honest and intelligent piece of work from the world of American acoustic music. An artistic statement executed with all the craft and expertise that is associated with this player from Southern California, but it has lots of extra goods to offer for the non-player as well.
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