Crooked Hearts CD Review From AmericanaUK
Darryl Holter “Crooked Hearts” CD Review From AmericanaUK By Paul Kerr
www.americana-uk.com 213 Music, 2012
A blast from the past from a guy who’s been there.
Darryl Holter is a kindly looking grey haired gent whose appearance on his album cover might make you think he’s the kind of guy who sings for his supper in folk clubs and cabarets. Well as the man said you can’t judge a book by the cover and an initial listen to this album reveals a man who has a firm grasp on the American folk and protest tradition.
Although he’s only been recording over the past few years, this his third album is a fine collection of self penned songs and a few covers performed in the manner of some grizzled veterans of the sixties. In particular it reminds one of Chip Taylor’s recent releases and especially of the albums released by Bob Neuwirth in the eighties. Apt indeed as it turns out that Holter was a contemporary of Dylan and Neuwirth and attended the University of Minnesota and was a habitué of the Dinkytown scene following the likes of Koerner, Ray and Glover. Although able to perform the contemporary song staples Holter went on to carve a career as a historian of left wing movements only returning to music as a fully-fledged grown up.
Able to deliver acoustic blues, country tinged rollicks and sensitive songwriterly musings its testament to his talent that he’s able to garner guests such as Dave Alvin, Benmont Tench and Greg Leisz, Leisz in particular adorns the album with some fine pedal and lap steel playing. Opening with a tremendous version of Alvin’s murder ballad “Mary Brown” Holter also covers Dylan’s “Love Is a Four Letter Word” in a manner that is reminiscent of Phil Ochs while Richard Thompson’s “Walking The Long Miles Home” gets a country makeover. Of his own songs “Rue Du Pont Au Chou” is a magisterial piece of biography and is fully explained on his very interesting memoirs on his website. Overall a very interesting character and a very sweet album.