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Local Musician Lee Penn Sky Riffs on Disappointments and Blessings 

29 Left Down explores life in the Idaho landscape

Lee Penn Sky knows how good can come from bad.

Lee Penn Sky knows how good can come from bad.

Lee Penchansky, aka Lee Penn Sky, took the title of his self-released March 2015 album, 29 Left Down, from "The Big Branch Mine," his song about the 2010 Pike River Mine disaster in which 29 men were killed. He sees the incident as both a tragedy and an outrage.

"You have this event that is horrible and so tragically sad and indicting," Penn Sky said. "It's so preventable. And there's that whole circus around that thing—'We know four are dead, but we know that 25 are alive in the safe room.'" This whole heartbreaking trip that we all took collectively through the media to find out, 'Actually, we've walked by these dead bodies several different times.' ... This place was in such disrepair that they didn't even see the bodies."

29 Left Down (produced by Audio Lab Studios' Steve Fulton) isn't about wallowing in anger or despair, though. Local artist Heather Bauer's album cover art—an encaustic image of flowers growing from skulls buried in the ground—suggests something more complex.

"That's a horrible event and we need to be reminded of it," Penn Sky said, "but it's not the only thing to life, and it's not the only thing about this album. This album is this rise and fall—there's good and bad. So these skulls are really seeds for these flowers. It's really kind of this cycle. That's the concept of the album and the concept of the cover of the album."

The other 12 songs on 29 Left Down flesh out Penn Sky's concept. Combining plain-spoken, compassionate lyrics with soothing folk melodies and gently funky rhythms, the album mixes reflections on social injustices and life's disappointments with an appreciation of family, friends and the Idaho landscape. Penn Sky released the album on March 29 during his Treefort Music Fest set with his band, The Oliphants.

click to enlargeJL PHOTOGRAPHY
  • JL Photography

Penn Sky knows from personal experience about good coming from bad. Originally from Ann Arbor, Mich., the singer-songwriter had played in a band while in college. However, he didn't start singing, writing songs or playing guitar seriously until after he was almost killed in a 2001 accident..

At the time, Penn Sky was working for a wilderness treatment program for children in Gooding, Idaho.

"I stopped to help somebody on the highway going over this huge pass," he remembered. "They were rolled over. I was responding to them, and a car came off and drilled me. I had to be Life Flight-ed, and I had eight surgeries on my leg. Long story short, I could no longer do those physical [tasks] that I moved up here to do."

As part of his recovery, Penn Sky began wandering alone through the Idaho desert. He also channeled his energy into making music.

"That's when I wrote my first album [Prelude to Hindsight (Parker's Records, 2005)]. All the songs on my first album were from that time period of recovery and loneliness and starting to feel some of that association with the land," Penn Sky said. He began performing locally and playing such festivals as Denver's Underground Music Showcase and Spokane, Wash.'s Fall Folk Festival, but he didn't release a follow-up to Prelude until this year. The 10-year gap between albums was due to a lack of money as well as focusing on raising his two children.

"That kind of derails you," Penn Sky said of parenting, "but it also sets you up for some beautiful and wonderful things that you would not have [expected]."

Penn Sky values the wonderful and unexpected in music as well. He credited the other members of the Oliphants, bassist Troy Ferguson and percussionist Jake Englehorn, with bringing out new elements in his songs.

"When we play live, we kind of become a jam band," he said. "Because I want that stuff to come out. I want everybody to have that expression. ... We're listening to each other, we're letting it go places."

Steve Fulton helped take the 29 Left Down material to new places in the studio. He pushed Penn Sky to add, remove and rewrite different parts of various songs.

"He actually did challenge me to change quite a few things," which, Penn Sky said, he was uncomfortable with. When Fulton told him he needed to rewrite the chorus of a song, Penn Sky said, "What do you mean? This is the song. What're you talking about?" But he realized he had to "go through that process and see what's there."

Listeners can see and hear the result of that process soon. Penn Sky and the Oliphants plan to play events like the Yellow Pine Music and Harmonica Festival in the next few months, and he also hopes to have a more organized release show for the new album.

Whatever response to the new album he encounters, it probably won't faze Penn Sky.

"After literally almost dying, what're they gonna do?" he said, recalling his start as a singer. "What if they say, 'I don't like your voice?' What's that gonna do, kill me?"

http://www.boiseweekly.com/boise/local-musician-lee-penn-sky-riffs-on-disappointments-and-blessings/Content?oid=3451455

Rootsville.be

Translated from Dutch Mr SMP has it right ..... in a year or so, we do not, it may reassure some are more mature. Given the genre, so that we only pay attention to Lee Pechansky aka Lee Penn Sky and his debut album "Prelude To Hindsight. So better late than never for the singer - songwriter from Idaho and good music that'll take you somewhere. "Do As I Say, not as I do, I'm not a perfect man .... have self is a great thing, it is self-aware of their own thoughts, emotions and feelings, self is the beginning of wisdom. .. for the record, Lee Penn Sky may be the lucky owner as a large portion of self. The magnificent "Valentine Day" (with John Cazan, on accordion), "Carolina Sings Softly", mid - tempo's "One and the Same", "I'm Spinning in this world, I saw Jesus in a nightclub, he was drinking with his friend Buddha"(with John Cazan / organ) and the acoustic guitar parties "Roll On" and "This Valley Will Burn" to justify the (mandatory) purchase of this disc in terms of manufacturing for a while behind us but that has a shelf life date never expire. Beautiful oriented folk songs that are very close to the Americana genre to a number of Texans have been a well-invested earn. Hopefully that "Prelude To Hindsight" Lee Penn Sky "a ticket to Europe " because it would bring more than worth quietly undermined in Vredenburg Music Center, with "Nebraska" and "Michigan"(2 x Brent King on mandolin) again our geography to a sublime musical way to freshen up. Daydreaming .... perhaps that the man whose sound is described in America as the Counting Crows meets Greg Brown are extreme "Best Will Show" with this album is very clear. The live recording of "Willie & Poncho" with Dave Lupien on harmonica underlines this feeling .... Self: rational business you analyze, test your feelings! A must have CD. (SWA) Collega SMP heeft het bij het rechte eind .....op een jaartje of zo kijken wij niet, 't mag gerust ietwat meer belegen zijn. Zeker gezien het genre en daarom dat wij nu pas aandacht schenken aan Lee Pechansky aka Lee Penn Sky en diens debuutalbum " Prelude To Hindsight". Dus beter laat dan nooit voor de singer - songwriter uit Idaho en zijn good music that'll take you somewhere. "Do As I Say, not as I do, I'm not a perfect man ....beschikken over zelfkennis is een groot goed, zelfkennis is het bewust zijn van eigen gedachten, emoties en gevoelens, zelfkennis is het begin van wijsheid ...voor de goede orde, Lee Penn Sky mag zich de gelukkige eigenaar noemen van een riante portie zelfkennis. Het schitterende "Valentine Day" (with John Caza, on accordion)," Carolina Sings Softly" , mid - tempo's "One and the Same" , "I'm Spinning in this world , I saw Jesus in a nightclub, he was drinking with his friend Buddha"( with John Caza / organ) en de acoustische gitaarfeestjes "Roll On" en "This Valley Will Burn" rechtvaardigen de (verplichte) aankoop van dit schijfje dat qua fabricatie al een tijdje achter ons ligt maar een houdbaarheidsdatum heeft die nooit vervalt. Schitterende folk oriented songs die erg dicht aanleunen bij het americana genre waarmee een aantal Texanen al jaren een goed belegde boterham verdienen. Hopelijk kan "Prelude To Hindsight" Lee Penn Sky een "Ticket to Europe" opleveren want het lijkt mij meer dan de moeite waard om, rustig onderuit in Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, met "Nebraska" en "Michigan" (2 x Brent King on mandolin) opnieuw onze aardrijkskunde op een sublieme muzikale wijze op te frissen. Daydreaming ....misschien maar dat de man wiens sound in Amerika omschreven wordt als the Counting Crows meets Greg Brown er zijn uiterste "Best Will Show" is met dit album wel erg duidelijk. The live recording van "Willie & Poncho" with Dave Lupien on harmonica onderstreept dit gevoel ....Zelfkennis : rationele zaken analyseer je, gevoelens proef je ! A must have cd . (SWA)
http://rootsville.be/CD%20REVIEW%20TOTAL/CD%20REVIEWS%202009/LEE%20PENN%20SKY.html

altcountry.nl

Here is the review translated from Dutch, which was sent to me by a fan in the Netherlands: Rarely can artists who bring out a cd under their own management regulate all matters themself . Thus Lee Penn Sky, had someone who maintained the contacts with the press. At least, that's what he thought . Until he discovered that the concerning person carried out nothing. Once discovering this Lee Penn Sky reacted just two years from date of the request of Altcountry music and still sent his cd Prelude To Hindsight (own management) to us. Fortunately because, what a beautiful record it is. Lee Penn Sky is a singer-songwriter from Idaho who grew up in Michigan and has been influenced , as so many people, by Texans Robert Earl Keen and Townes Van Zandt. The songs of Penchansky, his real name, are too original to be just put in that long line of followers. Moreover he has gone and collected a couple of fine unknown player for himself there in Idaho. Penchansky (song, acoustic guitar, vocals, and percussion) gave producer John Cazan lots of space to dress the numbers with electric guitar, keys, bass and drums. There stand in fact only convincing songs on Prelude To Hindsight and on splendourous numbers such as I'm Spinning and Carolina Sings Softly reminds me of the debut album of Rick Danko. This CD is a Must. (John Gjaltema) Here is the review as originally written in Dutch: Ook artiesten die cd’s in eigen beheer uitbrengen, kunnen niet alle zaken zelf regelen. Zo had Lee Penn Sky iemand die de contacten met de pers onderhield. Tenminste, dat dacht hij. Totdat hij ontdekte dat de betreffende persoon geen klap uitvoerde. Zo kon het gebeuren dat Lee Penn Sky pas twee jaar na dato op het verzoek van altcountry reageerde en alsnog zijn cd Prelude To Hindsight (eigen beheer) opstuurde. Gelukkig maar, want wat een mooie plaat is het. Lee Penn Sky is een singer-songwriter uit Idaho die opgroeide in Michigan en zoals zovelen is beïnvloed door Texanen als Robert Earl Keen en Townes Van Zandt. De liedjes van Penchansky, zoals zijn ware naam luidt, zijn te origineel om hem af te doen als de zoveelste in een lange rij volgelingen. Bovendien heeft hij een stel fijne onbekende begeleiders om zich heen verzameld daar in Idaho. Penchansky (zang, akoestische gitaar, percussie) liet producer John Cazan alle ruimte om de nummers aan te kleden met elektrische gitaar, toetsen, bas en drums. en daarnaast zijn er nog andere begeleiders ook. Er staan eigenlijk alleen maar overtuigende liedjes op Prelude To Hindsight en op prachtnummers als I’m Spinning en Carolina Sings Softly moet ik op de een of andere manier heel erg denken aan het solodebuut van Rick Danko. Aanrader. (John Gjaltema)
http://www.altcountry.nl/recensiesnov08.html#lpsky

www.rambles.net

review: Lee Penn Sky, Prelude to Hindsight (Parker's Records, 2006) Experiencing a life-changing event makes you look at everything differently. After songwriter Lee Penchansky recovered from being hit by a car during a Good Samaritan highway stop, he transformed himself into Lee Penn Sky, songwriter and solo performer. Prelude to Hindsight is his first album released with that identity. The disc includes thirteen folk/rock songs that use simple chord progressions and obvious rhymes to complete their stories. But hey, that technique worked pretty well for Paul McCartney. It seems to be working for Lee Penn Sky as well. Lee supplies the vocals and plays acoustic guitar for each original song here. His style is representative of the no-nonsense middle class. His web site says that his voice is reminiscent of Van Morrison. Before I saw that reference, I was thinking of a milder, slightly more melodic and less manic version of Joe Cocker or Joe Walsh. He is accompanied by a few musicians who put the icing on the musical cake, providing the services of mandolin, accordion, occasional drums or percussion, guitars, and keyboards on demand. The songs, all written by Lee, are "Do As I Say," "Valentine's Day," "I'm Spinning," "Roll On," "A Ticket Home," "Nebraska," "Michigan," "Daydreaming," "This Valley Will Burn," "One and the Same," "Carolina Sings Softly," "Best Will Show," "Willie and Poncho." Settings are most often the American Midwest or Great Plains, since Lee grew up in Michigan but now lives in Idaho. Even campfire guitar players will recognize the chords in the first passing, but that doesn't mean the tunes are trite. Why shouldn't contemporary music be both easy to play and interesting to hear at the same time? And yes, the rhymes are uncomplicated. Take for example the last verse of "Roll On:" "I'll take comfort from the sound of my guitar / And the fact we stare up at the same stars / And I know that someday you'll return / Till then for you I yearn." Then there's "Michigan," which I find to have the catchiest melody and lyrics. Just about each stanza ends with "But one thing I know is true / My heart lies in Michigan with you." Those lines swirl around me for hours after I hear them. And I don't even know anyone who lives in the Wolverine State that I can direct the sentiment to. If there's a sound that comes directly from the plains and the prairie, Lee Penn Sky's music may be the best example of it. Or maybe listeners can simply connect emotionally to Lee as he so completely expresses the anguish of living in one place while the people who mean the most to him are in quite another. At the same time, he seems satisfied with his Western fate –- except for a misguided trip down to Nebraska. The bottom line is: these songs are in every aspect simple, but are definitely not simplistic; and they grow on you the more you listen to them. The composition style is folk with a Western brand on it. The tunes are memorable enough to reverberate in your brain for the rest of the night, if not the rest of the week. Kudos to Lee Penn Sky, and here's hoping we hear even more from him soon. Reviewed by Corinne H. Smith
http://rambles.net/sky_prelud06.html

Wildy's World

CD Review: Lee Penn Sky - Prelude To Hindsight The term Americana is applied to many variations on styles in music that is has become almost meaningless. That aside, Lee Penn Sky offers his own home-backed slice of Americana in Prelude To Hindsight. Featuring strong bluegrass/folk styling on the acoustic guitar, Lee Penn Sky adds his rootsy voice to primarily mellow songs. Solid songwriting and professional production values culminate in a highly listenable Prelude. My favorite track here is One And The Same, which has a bit of southern rock flavor to it. Best Will Show is also a gem. The rest of the album for me is pleasant and well done, but just doesn't stand out to me as highly original or unique. Fans of mellow, country-tinged Roots music will find this quite enjoyable. I give it a positive recommendation. Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5) You can learn more about Lee Penn Sky at www.leepennsky.com. You can purchase a copy of Prelude To Hindsight at www.cdbaby.com/leepennsky.
http://http://wildysworld.blogspot.com/2008/06/cd-review-lee-penn-sky-prelude-to.html

Junior's Cave

Junior’s Cave would like to introduce to our online readers our newest sensational interview with an artist who has been described as “Counting Crows meets Greg Brown meets a milder, slightly more melodic and less manic version of Joe Cocker" to give you "Acoustic Soul." Singer/Songwriter Lee Penn Sky is certainly making music that will have his fans believing in him. With a sound that is distinctly his, Lee Penn Sky is a gem amongst the many jewels in the music industry. Check out this recent interview with the artist. Isaac-Joseph: Briefly describe how you entered into the music industry. Lee Penn Sky: In the early 90’s, when I was a student at the University of Michigan, I started a band with a good friend which was called Mr. Picassohead. I was the primary songwriter and bass player. We had some local success but nothing too big. After the inevitable demise of Mr. Picassohead, I continued to write songs but never stepped in front of the microphone myself; perhaps I was afraid of what people would think. Fast forward to January of 2001, I had moved out to Idaho after completing my Masters degree. I was driving on a remote highway on the Idaho-Utah border when I came across a rolled vehicle in the median of the highway. I stopped to help and was standing in the median trying to assist them when…wham! I got hit by another car… My leg was crushed and several years of surgeries and healing followed. Writing songs and playing guitar was one of my only outlets. After that, I lost my fear of what people would think about my songs or voice or guitar playing, It just didn’t matter to me anymore…. From that day, I began to play in front of anyone I could. Isaac-Joseph: Truly inspirational story Lee. How do I go to my next question with an awesome response like that one? But, he is the next question anyways. Isaac-Joseph: What is the most rewarding aspect to making music currently for you? Lee Penn Sky: When a person is moved by a song of mine, I try to convey an emotion or mood in my music so when someone connects with that it is very rewarding. Isaac-Joseph: What has discouraged you the most about making music? Lee Penn Sky: I have run into plenty of “hypesters” who want to take advantage of your dream to make a buck…as the music industry changes people seem more desperate to sell the dream back to you. Isaac-Joseph: Do you have a personal philosophy about music? If so, what is it? Lee Penn Sky: To me, songwriting is a visual art as well as auditory. I am conveying imagery though words and music to create the picture in people’s heads. If you can do that, then they connect with the song and attach their pictures from their life to your words…your song become part of their lives. Isaac-Joseph: When you are performing live in front of an audience, what are the thoughts that are running through you head? Lee Penn Sky: When I’m really in the moment, I kind of wrap myself around my guitar and feel more then I think…when I’m only part way there, I am usually noticing things around me about the audience. It depends on the gig and the crowd… I tend to play solo a lot so it can be very lonely when the crowd is distracted - or feel very connected when the people are really attached to what you are doing. Isaac-Joseph: Why is being an independent musician important to you? Lee Penn Sky: I like to express myself my way. I write how I want to write. I have had “music insiders” tell me all kinds of crazy things from “we love your songs but hate your voice, so we want another person to sing them” to “ we love your voice but hate your songs, so sing our songs.” I have no problem “selling” my songs but I am who I am, I do what I do and like it that way. Isaac-Joseph: Do you think the Internet has altered the path of music as an industry? If so, how? Lee Penn Sky: Absolutely, anyone can sell to a worldwide market now. It is both great in that those who don’t fit the old industry mold can get out there but on the other hand there is so much music out there that it is hard to cut through. Isaac-Joseph: Any advice for other musicians out there when it comes to using the Internet as a medium for getting their music heard to the masses? Lee Penn Sky: Not really other then put it out there, everywhere…I’m still trying to figure it out myself…anyone have any advice for me? Really, the one thing I would caution is if you can do something yourself, then do it, it gives you more control. That is what being an independent artist is all about. Isaac-Joseph: What kind of recording software do you use? Lee Penn Sky: In the studio I have used Protools, Sonar, and some others…Really I use whatever is in the studio I am working in. I don’t really have a home studio, I probably should. Isaac-Joseph: I know that everybody has his or her idea of a dream artist, someone who for whatever reasons that person would just love to listen to and admire. As an entertainer yourself, if you could play with one of your "dream" musicians, anyone at all, who would it be and why? Lee Penn Sky: Out of all my musical heroes, if I had to choose just one it would probably be Steve Earle. First of all, he is a phenomenal musician - powerful, raw, just great stuff musically. More than anything though, I admire the positions he takes in his music. He doesn’t separate his politics from his music, he’s not afraid to say what he believes; now that is an independent artist. That is free expression. Isaac-Joseph: What are you hoping to gain from your experience of being a musician and making music? Lee Penn Sky: Just like everyone, I’d love to make a living doing what makes me happy, but I’d write music whether I made money or not so I guess I’ll go with world peace…yep that’s it, world peace. Isaac-Joseph: Sounds good to me! Isaac-Joseph: What are you hopes for your music in the year 2008? Lee Penn Sky: Bigger and better gigs, playing and collaborating more often with people I love, for instance my best friend Alex Johnson, who was a finalist in last year’s national Guitar Center King of the Blues competition, and I have agreed to try to play some festivals this year. I’d like to go back in the studio and record another CD this year. (Any donors out there?) I intend to keep writing, playing and growing. Isaac-Joseph: This is our Shout Out time. Please give props to anyone and everyone that matters the most to you. Lee Penn Sky: My wife Kallie and daughter Parker of course are first on that list. Kallie has always been willing to make this trip with me. My parents and family have been a great source of inspiration. Thanks to Pete and Kathy, my in laws, who are great supporters of my dreams. John Cazan at Zaney Recording in Boise who produced my CD, Alex Johnson whom I earlier mentioned who owns and runs the Ann Arbor Music center. All the crew in Boise and anyone who has given my music a second listen…let alone the first. Isaac-Joseph: This is Shameless Plug time: Give us some updates on new releases and other projects in the works. Lee Penn Sky: Well, you should check out some recent recording I did in Nashville at www.myspace.com/leepennsky, and stop by my website www.leepennsky.com for updates. Plus, I would like for everyone out there reading this to check out my cd "Prelude to Hindsight" which is availible at cdbaby.com/leepennsky. Isaac-Joseph: Final Thoughts: Lee Penn Sky: This one goes to 11.
http://www.juniorscave.com/leepennsky

musesmuse.com

CD REVIEW: Lee Penn Sky - Prelude to Hindsight By Chip Withrow - 03/02/2008 - 01:46 PM EST Artist: Lee Penn Sky Album: Prelude to Hindsight Website: http://www.leepennsky.com Genre: Folk/Rock Sounds Like: Acoustic soul/country Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10 Commercial Value: 9/10 Overall Talent Level: 9/10 Songwriting Skills: 9/10 Performance Skill: 10/10 Best Songs: I'm Spinning, Nebraska, Michigan, One and the Same CD Review: I started listening to Lee Penn Sky’s fine new album at a very serendipitous time. I had just finished writing a song for my daughter, and the lovely first track of this disc, “Do As I Say,” is in the voice of a parent to a child. It’s simple and striking, just Penn Sky’s guitar and Jon Jon Stravers’ mandolin. Then comes the bittersweet, love-that-could-have-been number, “Valentine’s Day.” Again, I had just penned my first-ever Valentine’s Day song for my wife. Penn Sky’s has a clever lyrical twist to his song, and John Cazan’s accordion lends a wistful touch. On Prelude to Hindsight, Lee Penn Sky’s songwriting is direct and emotional. He is an accomplished rhythm acoustic guitar strummer, and his voice is smoky and rich, low and resonant. “I’m Spinning” is a mid-tempo, full band number with a Van Morrison-meets-Counting Crows vibe. Great words too, in which the hapless narrator stumbles across Jesus, Buddha, and Moses. The yearning, searching “Roll On” is in a similar soulful vein, but it’s just acoustic guitar and Cazan’s eerie, echoing electric guitar. Its big finish has a hint of gospel. Then comes “A Ticket Home,” which also has a gospel-like intensity in its organ swoops and backup vocals. I just went back and replayed “Nebraska” and “Michigan” because they are so cool, yet so different from each other. “Nebraska” is like nothing else on the disc, a stripped-down, desperate minor-key lament. Brent King’s mandolin soars, and the lyrical images are haunting and poetic. “Michigan,” an ode to a lover back home, is countrified, mellow, and loping. My wife and I have had some less-than-ideal Michigan vacation excursions, yet she digs this jangly tune. “This Valley Will Burn” is notable because this is the way I picture Penn Sky in a live setting, just him and his guitar delivering a plaintive performance. On the other hand, the driving “One and the Same” is given a full-on ensemble treatment. It’s a train song with a great sing-along chorus. I could hear one of my favorites, the Allman Brothers Band, doing stirring versions of the sweet ballads “Carolina Sings Softly” and “Best Will Show.” Cazan’s guitar is vibrant on “Carolina,” and Gayle Chapman adds powerful piano chords to “Show.” The live recording of “Willie and Poncho” is a nice touch to close the album, a saloon-friendly tribute to both Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt. A fitting close to a superb record that mines America and Americana for its magic.
http://www.musesmuse.com/mrev-leepennsky-prelude.html

Sharkbitten

Prelude to Hindsight CD Reviews by Todd Smith My mailbox is often stuffed with artists whose names don’t exactly roll off the tongue. Almost tripping over one another, the litany of unknowns continues to disappoint. Either they don’t know the style of music we cover here or the music simply doesn’t inspire me to say anything positive. Lee Penn Sky of Boise is the latest contestant with his disc Prelude to Hindsight. While I must admit that the album art and homebrew website convinced me to open the disc, I wasn’t immediately grabbed by the songs. The process of review includes several listens however and the work grew on me the way anything green grows in my barren backyard–slowly. Sky (or Penn Sky?) is an Idaho-based songwriter whose roots lie in Michigan. I’m unsure what drew him to Boise (was it the famous music scene?) but it was a first for me to receive work from the land of potatoes. With a wild mane beneath his chin and the usual songwriter gruff look, he figured to at least have some form of competency. And he has an affection for Texan songwriters as evidenced by his reference to REK, Townes, Willie and Steve Earle in the credits. With appropriate alt-country cred, I figured it worth another listen. As with the first listens, not every song really cut me. And Sky’s voice isn’t interesting, but it is smooth and capable–almost steady and clean. The musicians playing on the disc are quite good although I don’t know any of their other work. The production is solid and the arrangements are just crowded enough–kind of like cramming that extra person on the couch. But there are some really worthy bits of songwriting on the disc and to me, that’s where the gravy is found. The middle passages are quite good from “Roll On” which remarkably doesn’t cover territory already breached by Keen and Lovett as I had expected. Likewise, “Nebraska” immediately summoned the words “The Boss” but it bears no resemblance to that classic Springsteen recording. In fact, “Nebraska” sounds more like Townes Van Zandt than anything else on the album. “Michigan” seems to be the spot that you notice that he’s not simply riffing on his favorites, but rather finding his own voice. “This Valley Will Burn” really stands out as a terrific midwestern yarn that really shows the kind of performance that could put Sky on the map. In fact, if you take the time you’ll find that most of the work will indeed grow on you. Prelude to Hindsight isn’t going to show up on many year-end lists but it should show up on a few iPods. Lee Penn Sky isn’t going to win any Grammy awards, but if you head over to his site and listen to the songs he might earn a second listen as he did with me.
http://www.sharkbitten.com