No songwriter working today knows how to travel the sometimes difficult, often dangerous path between the soul and the earth better, or with more vigor and lust for adventure, than David Piper. With his latest release, LEMONADE SHOES, Piper's third for Trough Records, all boundaries are off the table. A wild and even exotic trek into life's darkest corners and brightest moments, Piper is at the top of his game in this collection of 12 new songs. Working with sounds and instrumentation filled with zest and a real sense of wonder, producer/arranger Keisuke Murao has taken Piper's music to a new level, broadening the sensibility of Piper's already moving material with expansive and colorful arrangements. Every moment of LEMONADE SHOES engages the listener in constantly surprising ways. And as always, Piper's versatile songwriting and clear, emotional tenor voice guide us through a wealth of unforgettable characters and experiences. Using musical motifs ranging from folk to rock to blues to Carribean cool, Piper and Murao cleverly and seamlessly move from romance to regret to laugh-out-loud funny to cutting social commentary, always with the grace and dignity so prevalent in all of Piper's previous work. Opening the album on a breezy, wistful note, Once a Man is sung from the point of view of Cleveland, a man living in the Bahamas whom Piper once met---a life story encapsulated in just a few minutes' time. The title track, a searing exploration into the horrors of alcoholism, is a gripping reminder of that disease's treacherousness. Got Your Message (about what it was like to live in Los Angeles in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdicts), Children of Iraq (a simple call to peace) and Never Again (written following a visit to the Dachau concentration camp) convey Piper's powerful devotion to social justice. Piper's most constant themes, those of basic human experience, remain strong and true-to-form. In Walkin' Someday, we hear the story of Robert, who spent the first 40 years of his life in a state institution because of a profound physical disability, but who never held anything but love and hope in his heart. Forever Eighteen reminisces about a friend whose life ended way too soon. Song For Jayne, a lovely tribute to a beloved aunt, soars with subtle melody and heartfelt love. And Chrismas In My Heart, a memory of Christmas past and hope for Christmas in the future, sweeps us away to a place and time nearly forgotten. Add in some spice (Find Your Door), some good old fashioned romantic dysfunction (Fool's Heart) and some out-and-out silliness (the gross-out-but-hilarious Hairball Blues) and LEMONADE SHOES comes full circle---a treat for lovers of every kind of music, from an artist who is clearly in the prime of his career.
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