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Monday, July 14, 2008

CD Review: Dudley Saunders - The Emergency Lane

Dudley Saunders - The Emergency Lane
2007, Fang Records

Dudley Saunders is a bit of the Americana you crave.  The performance artist turned singer-songwriter delivered his third album The Emergency Lane, in 2007.  It is a tuneful experience with great writing, great singing, and some of the best rock arrangements you'll likely hear for some time. 

Dudley Saunders sounds like Gordon Lightfoot and John Mayer's voices were somehow melded into a new instrument.  It's a pleasant and yet somehow unsettling combination that is interesting and richly textured.  His songwriting is complex and little bit out of the ordinary.  Look For Me is an interesting opening, and leads into Love Song For Jeffrey Dahmer, which is either woefully sick or darkly hilarious, depending on your perspective.  My personal favorite here is The Rain On 8th Avenue, which is kind of like a street scene set to music.  Dudley Saunders displays an incredible ability to create mental images from his lyrics and music.  Unlike many artists, the music Saunders composes supports and enhances the lyrics like shading and fine detail bring out the subject in a work of art. 

Saunders also displays a sharp wit, ala Lyle Lovett or Randy Newman.  Bad Driver and Mushy-Headed Kid play to this aspect of his musical personality.  The arrangements are sparse and starkly beautiful on The Emergency Lane.  The intermixing of serious subject matter with witty observation over the course of a long career could carve out a niche similar to those maintained by the aforementioned Newman and Lovett.  There's a little bit of Mark Twain in Dudley Saunders, and a whole lot of wonderful music. 

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5) 

You can learn more about Dudley Saunders at, where you can order a copy of The Emergency Lane.

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