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Bill DeMain and Molly Felder

JUNE (V2 ) • Swan Dive

I make no bones about it, this is my favorite group. My buddy Bill DeMain is a bit of a frickin genius, I can't help it. He not only writes more songs than almost anybody I know in this songwriter town, he writes more great ones. Each of these dozen pop jewels is cowritten, there are 8 cowriters. Producer Brad Jones is on three cuts, Boo Hewerdine copilots another three, and Jill Sobule appears on a pair (including my personal favorite, "One Sided"). Other writers on a song apiece (and I'm serious, every one is great) are Gary Clark, Marshall Crenshaw, Kelley Ryan, and Jenifer Jackson and Pat Sansome share credit on the lone three way composition. Rumor has it that later copies of this record will also include another DeMain/Jackson song hot off the press.

Bill DeMain has a professional muse and stunning partner in Molly Felder. Her flawless vocals are always the right size for the song and the spot she's in in the track. She just opens her mouth and romance comes out. Every song gets a unique and perfect treatment from her, she's deep in the heart of the lyric. Bill himself is a mighty fine singer, and their blend, whether in their trademark unison mode or in sophisticated harmony arrangements, is note perfect. Always.

In case the best songs and the ultimate muse and vessel weren't enough to make superb records, Bill found early on a razor sharp foil in producer Brad Jones at Alexander the Great Studio in Nashville. Pop magic is their business down there, and they have a fertile, brilliant roster of players to make it happen. Molly's husband Mickey Grimm plays fantastic drums and percussion on this record, for starters. Jones is a funky mensch on bass, and between he and especially Pat "the wig" Sansome, many vintage keyboards layer atmosphere and strike melodies, weaving elements together. Pat Buchanan plays absolutely expert guitar, and Jim Hoke's numerous contributions on flute, clarinet and harmonica are always world class. Trumpet, flugelhorn and trombone are by Neil Rosengarden, and he is the man. Jacob Lawson on violin and David Henry on cello do wonders. Tommy Hannum on steel is always indispensable on Swan Dive recordings, the cat is fabulous.

Am I over the top? Hell no, it's this record that's over the top. Check it out now on the Listen page, and then buy it.   • FG

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