David Deacon – Four
Slammin’ Media, 2023
Ten Tracks; 46 minutes
Music was not the first career choice for Canadian Blues-Rocker, David Deacon. His first profession was as an artist, and he had such a successful exhibit of his paintings that he left college without finishing his degree to go to Paris. However, the difficulty in making a living as an artist pointed him in other directions. He also had a career racing motorcycles and sports cars; however, a motorcycle crash led to a lengthy period of recovery and left him with a steel plate in his head and many broken bones. Poetry became his next primary focus, which led to songwriting. Influenced by many varied artists, including Dire Straits, Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen, he initiated a unique sounding musical career, originally only selling CDs at his shows. Deacon’s latest release, Four, showcases his songwriting talent, and the lyrics for all ten tracks are written by Deacon, with music by Andy Ryan for nine of the ten, and David Shaw for the opening track.
The album opens with “No Never Mind”, a song that has a rolling, carefree-feeling rhythm to it, but with lyrics that portray just the opposite emotion. “Now you write me a letter. Trying to make you feel better. But your words will not suffice. Cause you took away my nights. With cold fights, hard lights and highly individual uptights. I got the no never mind.” The storytelling ballads continue throughout the album, with some profound poetry about death in “Arc of Life”. “Do we need forgiveness? Do we need applause? Do we need some faint hope life had a greater cause. It’s the arc of life…for all of us who at the end walk softy to our sleep. There’s a forgetful sound….it’s the arc of life, leaving something after all.” Not all of the tracks are heavy; however, and “Rising Up Again” expresses hope. “I think we travel in circles in life. Maybe each time getting a little higher. Understanding something ain’t right….rising up again.” While the focus is always on Deacon’s poetic lyrics, he does also feature an excellent guitarist, Andy Ryan, although this contribution is, for some reason, not credited on the album. Ryan’s guitar skills can best be heard on the song “Jane”.
While lovers of poetry will undoubtedly enjoy Deacon’s thoughtful reflections on life, and will likely appreciate his soft yet powerful recitation, it is not an album to suit everyone’s tastes. In particular, his near-spoken word technique on nine tracks and complete spoken-word approach on one track can be a bit unsettling to some. It’s a style that many might enjoy for a track or two, but they may not appreciate an entire album devoted to that genre. However, even those who will wish for him to belt out a note and hold it will appreciate the art of David Deacon’s songwriting ability.
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