Robert Crenshaw may share a famous name with his brother Marshall, but he's got a voice and style that is his alone, and one that will make you sit up and take notice. He's got the perfect voice for these pop/rock tunes with a bit of country-flavored folk thrown in. Whether he's covering Don Dixon, Jackie Deshannon or Dylan, or writing his own original tunes, Crenshaw's take on a tune is compelling. He draws you in with a voice that is sweet and accessible, yet has some grit mixed in as well. All you know is that you want to hear more...and more.
Baby Come Run With Me is the perfect pop/rock song. Its underlying up-tempo melody keeps the tune afloat on lyrics that promise love and a wide open future. Here is where the Beach Boys meet a harder-edged rock sound.
Crenshaw and his band cover the Vogues' classic Five O'Clock World and enliven an already indelible song with a slightly grittier style. This one was recorded with brother John Crenshaw at his studio. Wow!
The beauty of Crenshaw's vocals is at the center of My Darkest Room, a reflection on the death and suicide of someone close. The synthesizer is remarkable at expressing the darkness here. And the lyrics beautifully express the anger and futility one feels at times like these:
Girl Next Door has the unmistakable sound of a Sixties rock band with tambourine and shining harmonies. As Crenshaw points out in the liner notes, this one has the hallmark of a Phil Spector production. I love it.
I mentioned the Beach Boys earlier and ironically enough, Crenshaw writes in the liner notes that they were the inspiration for his song Fade Away. This is such a great song - dreamy, romantic and punched up with beautiful harmonies by the Goulet Brothers.
The recording closes with two live covers, one of Jackie Deshannon's Every Time You Walk Into the Room, and Dylan's If Not for You.
It isn't often that I'm blown away by a recording and a talent that is new to me, but, this is one of those times. I think that Robert Crenshaw eats, dreams and speaks music. His pop/rock songs and style are timeless. Many of the tunes feel and sound like classics. Dog Dreams is a truly great recording. It deserves wide radio play and a legion of fans. Do go out and find it, buy it and listen to it. Then try to nail down a favorite. Each song is a gem. There's a lot of life that's been lived in these songs. And there's a song for every mood. I could listen to Crenshaw endlessly. He's that good.
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