THE EDGE OF THE WORLD • Buddy Mondlock
He's not one of those guys that writes tons of songs, and makes a record every year of just the best ones, hardly. But he definitely gets some wood on the ball, and he gets on base a lot.
His recording trajectory is quickly plotted: On the Line (1987), Buddy Mondlock (1994), Poetic Justice (1999), Dressed Up/Stripped Down (2002)--this is the previous CD, Buddy Mondlock, re-released with a 2nd disc of acoustic mixes--and now the brand new The Edge of the World (2007). As far as we can tell, he has released 52 songs in 20 years. And yet, he's been cut by some of the greatest living singers and songwriters: Joan Baez, Janis Ian, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, David Wilcox, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark. Oh, and Garth Brooks.
And when producer Billy Mann was asked to do an album for Art Garfunkel, he hand picked Buddy and Maia Sharp to form a trio with Art to bring out the songwriter in him. (You can do what I just did, and buy that great trio CD Everything Waits To Be Noticed, on iTunes. It's a must have for all Buddy fans, which you either already are or are about to become, we hope. You can also check out our interview with the great Maia Sharp, here.)
Anyhow, that's the back story, as they say in the film game. Today's joyful news is the release of The Edge Of the World. Buddy's spoken and singing voice is beautifully soft, but very sure and strong, like the songs. He's a man of the world whose inner child is alive and well, so he's got range. The co-write with Maia Sharp, "Understudies," sings like a timeless classic. It'll be on the Listen page with "Nobody Knows Nothing" and the pure Buddy opener, "When I Was A Little Kid," though it was hard to pick favorites on this record.
Buddy plays in TX a lot, but is from Chicago, and a lot of the work on this record was done there, by his co-producer Jim Tulio, who plays acoustic, electric and ebo guitar, harmonium, percussion, and some bass. There are a number of loopy elements afoot, but differently than usual, more organic. The unmistakable quiet assurance of Buddy Mondlock on every track is as enjoyable as the songs themselves, and as affecting. Absolutely one of the greats. Very highly recommended. • Frank Goodman