Haunting songs about haunted relationships, bitter and sweet, these are not so much love songs as songs about real love. The tone of the album is set up by the opening song--the only cover on the record--'Isn't That So,' by Jesse Winchester. It's refrain, 'You have to go where your heart says go/Isn't that so,' pretty much sums up the stories of 'Vanishing Point's' characters. They follow their hearts, through anticipation ('Sooner or Later'), conflict ('Vanishing Point'), longing ('Long Train'), betrayal ('Heart of Darkness'), and haunted lives ('Visions of Katherine'), back to some kind of redemption in the let-the-dreamer-go defiance of the final cut, 'Sweet Redemption.' Steve sings with honesty and conviction. The vocals are sweetly enhanced by the presence of his daughter Lenne Klingaman on all of the songs. As the saying goes, nothing sounds better than 'blood on blood.' Together, they deliver some stunning moments such as the bridges to 'Visions of Katherine,' 'Marie,' and 'Sweet Redemption.' The arrangements are built around Steve's soulful electric and acoustic guitars. His playing has been compared to artists as diverse as Andy Summers and Richard Thompson. Stellar guitar moments abound on this disk. A solid band feel is rocked solid by California drummer Jim McCarty, former longtime sideman and band leader for Buck Owens. Steve's lyrics are mature, focused and vividly evocative. They weave the stories into big, emotional choruses with strong hooks ('Save Me,' 'Heart of Darkness,' 'Sweet Redemption'). The spare, plaintive ballad 'Marie' is a standout free MP3 track. His singular mining of this kind of emotional turf has led to comparisons with Lucinda Williams. All in all, a great second outing for this engaging songwriter. A strong buy.
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