GREGG AND THE LONESOME DEBONAIRES: Blue on Blonde.
Jonathan Gregg (vocals, guitar); the Lonesome Debonaires
(vocals and instrumentals); John Linnell (accordian). Girl
About a Song; Blue on Blonde; By Heart Again; Empty Rooms;
White Picket Fence Life; Heartache 109; All Bygones; and six
others. JAGDISC, JAG 007 (49 min.) $12.25 postpaid from
Jagdisc, 304 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10012.
about unexpected. Here's an album that suggests no
kidding an adrenaline-stoked Dire Straits playing a
heretofore unimaginable pop-rock/metal/country hybrid. The
songs are rife with quirky lyrics and even quirkier chord
changes, and yet they're still instantly accessible, even
hummable. The work of a highly regarded New York City band
Living Color's Vernon Reid has called front-man Jonathan
Gregg his favorite guitarist that's unaccountably without
a major-label record deal,
on Blonde" is not just terrific, it's resolutely unique.
You've never heard, really, anything quite like its mix of
emotionally acute word play, unconventional melodic structures,
and neotraditionalist-on-acid guitar textures.
Gregg's singing is vaguely reminiscent of John Hiatt, there's
a hint of Richard Thomson or Tom Verlaine in his guitar playing
both in tone and in the sense that every solo serves the song
above all, and he's obviously listened to a lot of Elvis Costello
records (the dominant lyrical stance here being Bruised Romantic
Ironist). But since it all adds up to something quite minty
fresh, as they used to say in the mouthwash ads, I'm at a
loss how to describe "blue on Blonde" beyond saying
that it rocks like mad and features songs that instantly echo
in your brain like classics yo've heard for the last twenty
years. I know that's vague, but trust me on this one, folks.
I can't recommend it highly enough.