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Robby Hecht


It's not easy to be the new buzz songwriter guy in Nashville, this town full of singer songwriters. But if they were talking about Robby Hecht's songs and his voice last week, they're going to be talking about his record now.

As good as he is, and that's plenty good, running into Lex Price as a multi-instrumentalist producer was a milestone. Lex is one of those quiet guys that comes far fast, and doesn't spend any time at all talking about it.

For the soft and beautiful songs of Hecht, Price brought a group of talented compadres along. How lucky can a guy be, to have backing vocalists that include Mindy Smith, Jill Andrews, Jordan Caress, Thad Cockrell, and Sarah Siskind? Hell, those are some of my favorite singers.

Some of those involved told me he was reminiscent of James Taylor but I don't hear that--I certainly hear David Wilcox, though no singer songwriter wants to be compared to him on the guitar. But Hecht is no slouch here, he's a very melodious and deft fingerstylist. And his voice is the lightest version of smoky, a pure singer with smoky on 1.

But the ensemble sound is world class, absolutely. The rich and resonant rhythm section is mostly Dave Jacques on upright bass and Brian Owings on drums, though the producer handles the bottom end on a few numbers and Daniel Tashian the skins and percussion on "Freight Train Lady," the only song on this quiet record that incorporates a groove or registers as mid-tempo. That's certainly no crime--in fact, if a soft, easy, beautiful record is what you're after, look no further. James Digirolamo does a superb job on keys of all kinds (piano, organ, wurly, accordion, synth), though keyboard cameos show up from Kyle Andrews, Peter Bradley Adams, John Deaderick, and Neilson Hubbard. Again, when you get Lex Price, you're pluggin into a world that also involves Andrea Zonn on viola, Matt Combs on strings, and Jeff Coffin on saxophone.

But the artist provides the vessel for the journey, and is his own captain. West Coast wonder A.J. Roach provides the only cover song here, "My Chemicals." Otherwise it’s the classic love and loss songs and the soldier song "Along The Way" from the new crooner in town, Robby Hecht, that point the way, and he's going to make a name for himself with this convincing release.
• Frank Goodman

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