By: Matthew Wurgaft
Page McConnell's self-titled release from Sony/Legacy is a light, fun, and mature effort that is sure to please. Combining elements of rock, funk, jazz, classic jam and rockabilly, McConnell has found his voice outside of both Phish and Vida Blue.
The nine tracks here clock in at just under an hour, bolstered by seven-minutes of jamming during "Heavy Rotation" as well the eight-minute blues/funk workout, "Back In The Basement." While the opening cut, "Beauty Of A Broken Heart," may make some listeners groan ("I'm not complete but feel the heat/This pavement seals me to the street"), the record produces a refreshing "Oh wow" reaction as bounces along. "Maid Marian," easily the most melodic track here, eases itself on the listener. It's a funky, singable tune with great jam potential for his upcoming tour. Listeners will also be surprised to hear "Runaway Bride," whose melody and lyrics could be seen as a collaborative effort with former Phish band mate Mike Gordon.
Fans will be impressed by Page's efforts to expand his sound via prominent synthesized intros and pounding grand piano parts. Diehards may wilt at his lack of lyrical creativity, but should thoroughly enjoy the expansive and thoughtful melodies and improvisational sections.
Regardless of the fan response, McConnell seems happy with his solo debut. "This album speaks to the confidence I've gained in the course of making it," he said recently on his website. "It's like finding my own voice was part of making the album, and making the album was part of finding my own voice. Now it's going to come out, and people are going to hear it. That's pretty big for me – it's huge. I feel great about where I am right now."
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