Arlon Bennett - World Of Possibility
2013, Red Sea Records
2013, Red Sea Records
Arlon Bennett lives by the credo, “Shoot for the moon and ask questions later.” The Long Island based singer-songwriter has an evocative, personal story-telling style that incorporates elements of Harry Chapin and James Taylor, but Bennett is an American original. His latest album, World Of Possibility, should end up being considered one of the finest singer/songwriter efforts of 2013.
Bennett sets sail with the title track, a formulaic list song set in a nice arrangement. Bennett signals a keen musical sensibility here, even as he shows a certain lyrical awkwardness. Listening further will reassure this is a matter of story and character rather than Bennett’s style. "Carry Me" has a class folk/Americana feel and a pleasing melody. The chorus will get stuck in your head. This is a great recovery from the opening track. "Nothing Like A Song" celebrates the uplifting power of music, be it religious or secular. It's well written and catchy without being over the top.
"Question For Einstein" poses the study if the human heart for one of the greatest minds in history. Bennett does an amazing job of storytelling in song, sketching out a character and a moment in breathtaking detail. The simple arrangement is enhanced with strings, but the song is the thing here. Prepare to be quietly blown away. "Sal" is another fabulous bit of story-telling, a biography in son of a school janitor who made an impression. Bennett finds magic in the past and brings it to life in song. "Everything He Says" is an upbeat rocker lamenting a friend’s inability to talk about anything other than his new daughter. This piece of observational writing seems more bemused than anything else, and is very entertaining.
"A Little Faith" is a beautiful piece of songwriting about hidden beauty and how it can be found. "A Friend In You" is a love song between friends, an acknowledgment of what they share that's sweet without ever sounding trite. "The Christmas Tree On Salem Street" paints a Rockwell-esque picture of middle America a Christmas time. It becomes difficult with Bennett to identify a single highlight, but this song must be in the running. "I America" is an autobiographical monologue from the United States, personified as an imperfect yet perfectly viable nation. Bennett gives voice to a nation without rancor or exclusion, a matter not to be taken lightly. Bennett winds down with the utter beauty of "Even When She Cries". This is a song of adoration for his daughter that is amazing in its poetry, rhyme and melody. This is how you close an album with an utter "wow" moment.
Arlon Bennett writes and sings like a throwback from another age. With a cool, clear voice that falls somewhere between Paul Simon and James Taylor, and adeptness with words that comes along but rarely, Bennett raps up listeners in the silky chords of his song craft. World Of Possibility might get off to a slow start, but don't be fooled, Arlon Bennett is one of the finest singer/songwriters you'll have heard in a long time. World Of Possibility is an easy pick as a Wildy’s World Certified Desert Island Disc.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more at www.ArlonBennett.com.