South of Delia Reviews

Hartford Courant (May 24, 2007)

New Jersey native Richard Shindell has lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina,
since 2000, but the social perspective of folk storytelling remains
staunchly American. That is the case even when he digs into other
artists' catalogs for his sixth studio album, "South of Delia," a
collection stamped with a voice very much his own as he refreshes an
array of songs that suit both the style and substance of his approach.

It is easy to lament the absence of the incisive personality that is a
staple of Shindell's own lyrical craftsmanship, but his lean, versatile
baritone and thoughtful musicianship flourish in the focused
interpretive setting an album of covers provides. Even without his
singular take, the songs he selects are plenty juicy in their own right,
whether he is digging into the past for a patient, evocative rendering
of Bob Dylan's "Seor (Tales of Yankee Power)," or channeling a more
contemporary source for an expressive trip through Josh Ritter's mellow
"Lawrence, KS."

Each tune shares a facility for drawing complex portraits from vivid
simplicity, from the frank portrayal of ill-used people in a fiddle- and
accordion-gilded take on the Band's "Arcadian Driftwood," to a stunning
exploration of introspective regret on Jeffrey Foucault's "Northbound
35." There is a touch of daring in his willingness to make "Born in the
U.S.A." more about gentle insistence than Bruce Springsteen-style rugged
assault, an artful confidence justified by his on-target instincts for
remolding material to make it play to his strengths.

  • THOMAS KINTNER


by Thomas Kintner

updated 6 years ago