June  2002

David Lewis - For Now
Appleseed Recordings APR CD 1057
Released: 2001

by David J. Cantor

Musical Performance ***
Recording Quality ***
Overall Enjoyment **

[Reviewed on CD]Some of the tunes on David Lewis’s For Now are very catchy and the arrangements are enticing, but many of them are lyrically enigmatic. The songs brim over with pleasant guitar fingerpicking, intelligent arrangements and competent musicians, but the lyrics initially invite the listener to think they will cut deeper than they actually do. The disparity between musical and lyrical content accounts for the difference between performance and enjoyment ratings I gave this album.

For Now's songs sound as though they were written by a likeable person who understands the emptiness and emotional conflicts experienced by intelligent people, but they lack concrete images of anything other than the night sky or the weather. They lack the richness and depth of, for example, the best songs on Tanya Savory’s Town to Town.

"You Don’t Have To Lose" begins, "Sometimes you sit imprisoned by the things you know and love/And think of opportunities anew," and later laments, "Sometimes you sit imprisoned by the things you know and love/But hold them close and you don’t have to lose." The listener never discovers what "things" the writer refers to or how they imprison someone who knows and loves them. How does one avoid losing by holding imprisoning things close? Subsequent verses do not answer these questions -- or any of the many others the enigmatic lyrics raise.

The most appealing track, "The Rain Stops Everything," possesses a quick tempo that doesn’t belabor its lyrics. Once again, the song shows early promise that never go anywhere. There's one sharp, clear image, "There’s a rainstorm raging out in the street/There’s a sound on the roof like the patter of feet," but the inviting patter-of-feet image goes down the drain. The lines that follow it never build on it or otherwise go beyond the notion that the singer and his companion would like to say things to each other that they never say.

It's a pity. For Now shows such dedication to its musical song-craft and instrumental and vocal arrangements, it's too bad David Lewis hasn't worked as hard on actually having something to say.