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Skeleton Key (Stephen Cummings)1 - Cover_SkeletonKey

Stephen Cummings CD "Skeleton Key" is no dream world of fluffy pop songs about never ending love, but it's an optimistic look at life tempered with the realism of someone who's lived a reasonable slab of it. There are very few performers in the world of music who just keep getting better but we can be thankful Stephen Cummings is one. He writes and sings about the issues of his current stage in life as potently as he did about his youth.

On Skeleton Key, as usual, he has been quite musically adventurous, choosing to add spice to his tried and tested crew of Melbourne musicians with people from outside his normal sphere such as Ross McLennan from Snout. Also appearing on this record are Bill McDonald on bass; Shane O'Mara and Jeff Burstin on guitars; Michael Barker, Peter Jones and Peter Luscombe on drums and percussion; Garret Costigan on pedal steel; Bruce Haymes on keyboards and Rebecca Barnard and Ross Wilson on backing vocals. This is the first time Ross Wilson has appeared on a Stephen Cummings album - he contributes some great harmonica as well as an element of musical history.

A combination of good sounds and songs recorded well may not necessarily grab your attention. There must be a passion in the writing, performance and recording that somehow mak es the journey from wherever it began in the songwriter's grey matter to the pleasure spots of the listener. Skeleton Key, like an instinctive snap over the shoulder for a goal on the siren, performs this miracle in nonchalant fashion. From the opening title track with its "she cares for me" refrain, to the final blues bravado of Is It Me That You Love, 'Skeleton Key' always connects directly. Stellamare is a mysterious epic tune co-written with Christopher Marshall. You Put A Pain On My Heart sounds like a wickedly good and true rock song from a great, long-forgotten Joe Cocker album, before he got the wind beneath his wings. Love Is Mighty Close To You, already covered by Jimmy Little and appearing in the soundtrack for "Dope", is a simple, beautiful Mexican tinged acoustic track with an optimistic message. "But the morning star's rising/Climbing into view/Love is mighty close to you." The Truth About Love is a roller coaster ride through a relationship. It tells the story of a romance between "the customer and the waitress" from beginning to end - and maybe back to the beginning again. Its' bitter-sweet and sadly optimistic ending will bring a pang of recognition to many people. Also setting the mood is a wonderful song in waltz time called Time Trip. Amid a beautiful musical setting highlighted by Garret Costigan's cascading pedal steel Stephen concludes "Life comes in a mad rush or on a slow drip/Ooh baby it's been a time trip."

This record is the soundtrack of a real life time trip.

 

For more information about Stephen Cummings and releases click here to go to the artist page

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