Patrick Conway - The Rocking Stone
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The Rocking Stone (Ethic, 2001)

Patrick Conway

Reviewed by Michael Berick

Listening to the opening two tunes on San Francisco-based Patrick Conway's disc brings to mind another Bay Area artist Chris Isaak. Both "We Could Be A Wheel" and "Where Have You Been" convey the lonesome romanticism that Isaak has made his stock-in-trade, although Conway ups the twang quotient over his better-known counterpart.

Conway's restrained vocals hold a warmth that works well with this set of love songs, but sometimes his songs turn out sounding too lightweight, like '60s AM radio soft pop. His lyrics also play into this tendency, by wavering between being touchingly heartfelt and overly earnest. As a result, this causes the first half, in particular, to lag and undercut its initial momentum.

Conway rights his course a little over midway through. The rousing "Bury Me," with its Irish-flavored country gait, re-injects some life to the disc. On songs like "Sound Of Water" and "Brave Goodnight," he freshens up his love ballads with nice use of keyboards, mandolin and, in the latter case, Brantley Kearns' fiddle. Despite some shortcomings, Conway's second solo album does demonstrate that he is a singer/songwriter with considerable promise.

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