Vintner's country-folk effort falls short
Reviewed December 2009
By Kermit Lynch
Dualtone Music: 2009
To hear sound clips or learn more about this release, Turbula recommends viewing its Amazon.com entry.
Wine aficionados may be familiar with Kermit Lynch, who has some heavy cred as a merchant, general wine expert and author of several books on the subject. He also writes songs and released a disc of original songs in 2005, "Quicksand Blues," and he is back with a new music project of covers and originals, "Man's Temptation."
It is clear on this disc that Lynch has an interest in country-folk music and fancies himself a troubadour. He self-released the disc, which is a slick Nashville production by Ricky Fataar (a session drummer who, among many past projects, was once a Beach Boy). The music reaches across genres to include some of Lynch's favorite covers while staying in the country style for his originals, where it tends to stall. At times, it also tends to have a case of Dylan-itis; Lynch must admire Bob, because he sure imitates him a lot.
Things start off with a folksy original and another of Russian poetry that Lynch puts to rustic waltz music, both of which are pleasant but forgettable. A cover of Curtis Mayfield's title song follows. The crack band helps this one click despite a thin lead vocal a great song will always carry the day, and the background vocals and sublime horns lift this old classic to another level. For "Down in the Flood," Lynch goes for a Dylan out-take sound on his song; the key is lower, with more electric instruments, but Lynch is just aping ol' Bob.
On the Carter Family's "Bear Creek," a try for bluegrass falls apart because of Lynch's all-wrong vocal. After a pretty good job on a country rocker, "Buckle Up Boogie," with no effort at subtlety, we get another stab at Dylan: "Girl From the North Country." Again, another good song is spoiled by a guy doing his Bob D. karaoke imitation, as Lynch again tries for the vocal inflections of Dylan when he should be putting his own stamp on the song. At least his later covers of "Take These Chains From My Heart" and "Why Can't She Be You," while limited by his vocal depth and range, don't try to sound like the originals.
"Man's Temptation" contains covers of some all-time great songs, but unfortunately the singing here does not do them justice. Since Lynch's originals don't hold interest, the focus becomes his voice, and it isn't enough.
Review by Frank Kocher, a longtime San Diego resident, musician, music collector and frequent contributor to The San Diego Troubadour.