of the Union.
With an album title like that, you might think it full of songs
about politics and hate and the politics of
because that is really the state of our union these days, but
it is not. I knew it wouldn't be. Sweet
share the frustrations and angst many of us have in terms of
the deterioration of society's fabric, but they live in a state
of music and where there is music, there is love. Even in music
of hate, there is love if only for the music itself.
prefer to think of this as the state of their
That of Tim
are, in fact, Sweet
I happened across them a few years ago quite by happenstance. I
had found an EP by Atom
one of the songs swept me away. When I contacted Atom
he pointed toward the guitarist and vocalist who made the track
what it was--- the same Schorr & Burlingame who are, I was
to find out, STR.
It turned out that they were at the time working on their own
release and when it came out, they sent me a copy. I think I
loved it. You'd better double-check, though, by reading my
There has been a bit of water under the bridge since then---
much too much to my way of thinking--- but Schorr and
Burlingame used it wisely, working on new songs and touring.
They have, in fact, been working their collective asses off.
State of the Union proves
have to confess to a lot of love for this album. I expected
something as good as the first album, My
I got that and more. State of the Unionis
a study in sounds as well as a study in performance and
songwriting--- and production. I do not have a physical copy in
front of me so I can't bear witness to who did what on the
album, but I'm going to assume it was Burlingame and Schorr who
put everything together. They had, after all, done an excellent
job on the first album.
be told, I would have bought this album just for the unassuming
and understated guitar sounds. On the first track, Breaking
My Own Heart, Burlingame throws in a few chords which
really caught my ear, but only a few. He revisits the sound on
a few other tracks, but utilizes it so sparingly that after a
few listens it becomes pure gold. Other tracks hold surprises
as well. Rosemarie contains faint wisps of Eleanor
Rigby, but that is mostly my imagination, possibly. The
lyrics and strings lean that way, though, and the track is
solid. Lewis and Clark is a pop gem, having that light
late-60s folk-rock sense to it. The harmonies almost make me
laugh, they are so right on. Schorr handles her voice very
well, indeed, but nowhere better than on Love To Fall In
Love, another upbeat pop gem with stacked background
harmonies. They step aside with a bit of uke-sounding guitar
(or maybe it is an ukulele) on Dance With Me, dipping
into the past for a forties or early fifties vibe.
nail them all. Not one clanker in the bunch and all of them
already deeply embedded in my head. I mean, there were some
exceptional moments on My Hallelujah, but I think
they may have upped the ante here. Why? I think it's the
production. For some reason, this album flows, and I mean
favorite track right now is If I Couldn't Have You. The
mixture of slow pace, Schorr's beautiful vocal and Burlingame's
freakishly good sound on the guitar is a magic combination. Not
to mention the fact that it is just a damn fine song. If this
was the heyday of radio and I had to pick a single, this would
be it. Just far enough outside the box yet accessible,
music-wise. Damn, but I am growing to love this song!
not met these guys yet. I hope to. I'll bet their performance
is as good as this album--- topnotch. Until then, I'll settle
for State of the Union. Actually, I would settle
for State of the Union, regardless. If you like
the softer side of rock, the emotional and the upbeat, you
should check this out. It is smo-o-oth.
aside: Betwixt Hallelujah and
a handful of songs you might want to have. Two were used in
episodes of Haven,
thriller which starred Emily
among others. When you visit CDBaby, click on the rotating
wheel of icons beneath the “More Albums By This Artist”
post. Available as downloads only, but each one well worth it.