CD Review: Ted Garber “American Rail”

Life isn’t fair. Some people can write good lyrics, but they can’t write a good song. Some people can sing, but can’t play an instrument. Some can play, but can’t carry a tune if their lives depended on it. But some people have a monopoly on talent – they can do everything, and do it oh so right. Ted Garber is one of those monopolizers of talent who can write smart lyrics, craft jubilant songs, sing his heart out, and play his guitar and harp like nobody’s business. And on top of all that, he comes across like your average everyday nice guy.

Ted Garber calls his unique blend of music “BluesAmericanaRock” and says his latest effort, “”American Rail”, is a “deeply personal collection of songs steeped in American tradition with an international twist”. A few tunes in and you’ll catch his continental drift – while there is a bedrock of pure American party rock, you’ll hear some Brazilian Bossanova, some Afro-Cuban drumming, and some of that classic big band sound. Garber‘s lyrics can be heavy, but always inspirational, as in “Giving Tree”, a call to continue the efforts to rebuild what Katrina destroyed.

From the opening harmonica in the stomping “It’s About Time” to the Jason Mraz riffing on the closer “Another Monday”, you’ll be captivated by the diversity of genres this artist has masterfully stirred into a singular style. Other highlights include the feel-good, horn-laden “Strike It Up”, the wonderful upbeat duet “Waste Some Time”, and the gentle beauty of “Break Me Down”.

Garber is a genuine musical talent who uses his gift to remind the world of the power of American music. It is impossible to ride “American Rail” without feeling better in the end. Check out Ted Garber if you like Willy Porter, Pat McGee Band, or Bruce Springsteen.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10

Ted Garber on MySpace. Official site.