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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Peter Himmelman - The Mystery And The Hum

Peter Himmelman - The Mystery And The Hum
2010, Himmasongs

Peter Himmelman has cultivated an image as an outsider, writing songs with a furious sense of independence and unscripted worldview.  While remaining fiercely independent, Himmelman has managed significant acceptance from the entertainment establishment, landing songs in the movies (Crossing The Bridge) and numerous television shows (Bones, Men In Trees, Judging Amy, Scoundrels).  Himmelman has earned both a GRAMMY and EMMY nomination in the process while also earning a Parents' Choice Award for his children's music.  Himmelman returns on October 12, 2010 with his latest offering, The Mystery And The Hum.

The Mystery And The Hum opens with "Motel Room In Davenport", a great early-rock style tune with elements of blues and country woven in.  A song about hope and transformation, "Motel Room In Davenport" explores the long spaces in between the great events of life, delivering a positive message in a lively arrangement.  "Change My Channel" is a cyclic song of heartbreak, paralleling Himmelman's emotion recidivism with a steady and self-renewing Americana arrangement.  "Sit Tight" is pure Americana/pop; a compact song that gets surprisingly under your skin given its low-key approach.

"Raining Down From Satellite" is a solid radio track, smooth and edgy all at once.  Himmelman's melody is memorable, but it's the layering of instruments and voice that make this song work, as Himmelman discovers a tension between the two that's palpable and drives the song.  "Georgia Clay" is bluesy folk, a song about falling on hard times.  It's a brilliant piece of songwriting with a slinky feel that works well in a call for mercy.  "Ever So Slightly" is devotion personified a song about slowly giving over the reins to love.  "Windshield Reflections" is a love song from a road warrior who can't wait to get back home to the one he loves.  Himmelman's songwriting is smart and compact but full of this wonderfully quiet pop sensibility that sneaks up on you.  Himmleman closes with "Trembling In The Beams", a touching love song that's both deep and poetic.  Built around a simple melody and stripped-down sound, Himmelman proves that sometimes less is more with a lovely closing tune that may well become a fan favorite.

It's hard to imagine Peter Himmelman writing a bad song.  Where Himmelman seemingly misses it's not so much a matter of poor songwriting or choice; it's just Himmelman following his muse wherever it leaves.  Sometimes the spaces are so personal that the wider audience will feel a little left out, but more often than not Himmleman's songs have enough presence in the outside world to be accessible.  The Mystery And The Hum will remind you that pop sensibility and great songwriting don't necessarily have to be two separate bins in the record store.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Peter Himmelman at or Mystery And The Hum is available from on CD and as a Download.  The album is also available digitally from iTunes.

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