Taking a listen

by Heather MacIntyre

Dylan Gilbert — The Quiet Life

Boy, is this Charlotte lad young, but his direction is a lot more mature than most 20-year-olds trying to make it in music right now. However, I think that’s not saying nearly enough, because even if you take away his barely two-decade age, the music is still more than just “good enough.” His voice is young, and possesses just a hint of the South in his throat, indefectibly matching his acoustic sound. The songs range from slow and sweet-picking strings to trumpets, keys, banging bells, galloping guitars and big-band sounds. Lyrics speak of parties and young ladies, flashing in out of youthful and elderly perspectives — something you wouldn’t really expect from this sound. No continual tracks of typical end-of-the world first-love heartbreak, but more ballads and stories of music, traveling, small towns and their unnoticed characteristics. One of the tracks has some yell-along vocal assistance from others. He isn’t afraid to ask for help and musical cameos from others. As far as his live show goes, pictures plague the internet of him with guest backup musicians and bands of horns. My favorite, “Life with Wolves,” is a warm and soothing hit where he lowers his voice and shows his appreciation for and understating of jazz by patiently allowing the words to just fall off his tongue at their own pace. If this kid is already writing music like this now — combining pop, jazz, folk and British experimental rock — I can’t imagine what sort of innovations he has planned for the future. The album shows that, without a doubt, he had fun during the whole process. Rumor has it that he is playing at a secret tea party Saturday night in Greensboro. Quaint enough? Travel to Charlotte at the end of the month to hear this album, and pick up a copy yourself at Amos’ South End (, or at Rating: 4.0 records (out of 5)

Aaron Burdett — Resolve

An obliviously innocent version of James Taylor, Burdett’s voice is light and happy, no matter how sad the song. Some might consider it dulling to emotion, due to a very short vocal range. His classical influences do shine through on a few of the slower tracks, but I really enjoy the more upbeat rhythm guitar numbers. They prove musical talent and a more passionate side within the lyrics finally given by the Saluda, NC singer-songwriter. Lyrics about runaways, uncomfortable situations and last chances — I think this new album is a little more country-rock than his usual western Carolina folk. I hear the creativity, but I don’t hear the energy. A step closer to being radio-friendly, it’s definitely an album for the middle-aged couple, still in love, to listen to in the car. Pop in this album, take her by the hand, and ask her to dance to “Bring It All Back to the Heart.” While his previous album sounded more like autumn, this one is unmistakably meant for a summer night. The target date for this release is Aug. 12. Keep an eye on his online status for upcoming shows. Rating: 2.5 records (out of 5)

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