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The Hustler by Jeff Klein

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Reviewed on 20th June 2005.


The Hustler

By Jeff Klein

This is the third album from Jeff Klein, a New Yorker relocated to Austin, Texas. It opens with the title track, with lullaby acoustic guitars and some truly beautiful, sparse, throbbing slide guitar. Klein's gruff vocal softly breathes out above the melody to add to the soft, gentle warmth of the song. If this is the first you have heard of Jeff Klein then it is a fitting introduction to his beautifully crafted songs that take you down so low they are ultimately uplifting.

'The 19th Hole' has Klein doubling his vocals, one low and resigned, the other high and strained. It's a juxtaposition that adds a greater depth to the lyrical content. The songs are little more orchestrated than his previous efforts with more layers to the music. Whilst the music is constructed lovingly and with care it is Klein's voice that really gives these songs that extra boost to make them superlative. It's rich and full of character, it contains a great sorrow and beauty in its tone and makes me want to be a woman so I can let it make me horny without guilt.

'Suzanne' trips along with with a happy little beat and sees the addition of some lovely brass to proceedings. 'Stripped' in an obvious contender for a single with its catchy guitar and vocal melodies. Most of Klein's lyrics deal with relationships gon awry ... "You keep your diary locked away, I know I look for it every day" ... "I can't pick you up without sinking down" ... sometimes they take a darker and more sinister turn. The programmed beats give 'Pity' a dark and edgy feel as Klein's voice whispers "I can't sleep alone without choking, did you dream you'd find your way out? Or did you think I was only joking when I said don't leave? That you could never leave me".

Musically it's a nice stretch to push the barriers a little whilst still fitting in with the other material on the album.

'Put You To Sleep' is another standout track on what is a strong collection of songs. For those who have already heard Jeff Klein then 'The Hustler' will simply embolden their love for him, whilst it should also make large strides to introducing him to a collection of new listeners. This latest album confirms he is certainly amongst the elite of today's generation of singer songwriters and has one of the finest voices in music.



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