Folk-rockers Burlap to Cashmere, who received acclaim for their CD “Anybody Out There” in 1998, put their trademark songwriting abilities to the test 13 years later and succeeded again with their self-titled CD that releases today (July 19) on Jive/Essential Records.
The long hiatus is due primarily to guitarist John Philippidis being beaten and left for dead in a road rage incident in New York in 2005. The incident left him in a month-long coma. Working his way back to playing guitar via video games with his cousin and frontman Steven Delopoulos, the band reunited with new vigor, enlisting the help of producer Mitchell Fromm (Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Sheryl Crow).
What has resulted is one of the best well-versed and thoughtful CDs I have heard in a long time, with “The Other Country” drawing comparisons to Van Morrison (one of my favorites) and “Build A Wall” with its Irish-folk infused vibe. It’s a mature offering — music for the thinking man — that a younger generation can appreciate.
The CD takes the listener back in time to a place where songwriters Simon and Garfunkel, Cat Stevens and Harry Chapin ruled the airwaves. Down-to-earth lyrics fuel the CD from the first song, “Don’t Forget to Write” –
I’m an orphan though I see the world as new/
Do you remember when the clouds were gold/
And love was shining through?
to “The Other Country” –
Draw near, the lamb’s awaiting
Where the river runs, through the skies align
From that pelting of a ship, we’ve all be chosen
To the greatest creation and his dream design
Among my favorites is the second song on the CD, “Build A Wall.” It’s reminiscent of an Irish folk song — fast-paced, heavy drumbeat and bass, and even a mention of “drinking whiskey.”
It’s been a long wait from these songwriters and harmony-makers, but listeners and fans will find it is well worth it.