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Tony Lucca - Rendezvous with the Angels

  by Lisa Torem

published: 12 / 8 / 2010

Tony Lucca - Rendezvous with the Angels
Label: Rock Ridge
Format: CD


Earthy combination of classic pop and Americana on impressive sixth album from Michigan-based singer-songwriter, Tony Lucca

Standing against the façade of a single-family dwelling, on a winter’s day, with stark leafless branches in the background, singer-songwriter Tony Lucca looks pensive. Brandishing a boyish cap, which is slung over his forehead, sporting distinguished sideburns and a matching moustache, his cover photograph looks as unaffected as the work which lies beneath the lyrics of his sixth release, ‘Rendezvous with the Angels.’ This Michigan-raised, multi-instrumentalist’s first two releases were sold via the internet; 'So Satisfied' and 'Strong Words, Softly Spoken'. But, his first commercial venture, 'Shotgun' arrived in 2004. The prolificacy continued as Lucca wrote 'Canyon Songs' (2006) and 'Come around Again' (2008) for Rock Ridge Music. Though the singer-songwriter is as inspired by classic writers like Crosby, Stills and Nash, Joni Mitchell, and the Beatles, as he is by Band of Horses and Jeff Tweedy and Wilco, Lucca continually searches for his own voice. This translates into an immensely earthy approach to writing, which, after an initial listen, becomes evident straight away. This charming new work is a lesson in exceptional expository writing. “Now you found someone who makes you feel all fancy inside/Naked as a baby, you’ve got nowhere to hide,” is one line which encapsulates the man’s lyrical efficiency. ‘Like Love’ is funky, yet immaculately clean, in that it broadcasts Lucca’s embraceable voice, which while brilliantly suited for R & B, works equally well with folk and pop melodies. Bright splashes of organ make this biting expose even sharper. ‘Make You Mine’ is a song which relies on some more percussive touches; tambourine and shaker courtesy of Todd Beauchamp, who also produced this, plus three additional album tracks. The sprightly song is not only poppy, but when enhanced by the penultimate measures of brisk keys by Dave Yaden, the deal is unmistakably sealed. ‘Stay with Me Tonight’ begins, “Ain’t gonna twist your arm this time/Try as I might to make you mine.” Lucca, with so much more than matter-of fact conviction, takes charge of his feelings. ‘Undertow’ features his superb guitar work as the reflective chorus rolls along: “Undertow, please let me go/Cast this broken heart upon the shore.” Lucca is at his most masterful as he sings this simple melody, slightly pumped up by lonesome whistling. Alhough the story suggests a breakdown of former, far-flung fantasy, you get the idea this guy’ll pull through once again. In fact, you get the idea nothing keeps him down for very long. ‘Song to a Martyr’ is finely orchestrated. Lucca plays piano, guitar, organ and bass, joined by drummer Josh Day. In ‘Anchored’ Lucca’s voice, “stares you down.” The Dylanesque ballad, ‘Anchored’ begins, “Smells like Los Angeles in the middle of the winter.” Lucca delivers brilliant descriptors of romantic ambiguity with images such as: “eminent wreckage” and “drowning in love anchored to you.” “You’re upstate with Shakespeare/I’m out west with Cassady/As our long love letters pass like strangers in the night…” Lucca observes. He makes an otherwise long-distance relationship somehow seem bearable. Another unplugged pearl, co-written by Melissa Polinar, ‘Back to Me’ is strikingly sensitive. Lucca sings with pal, Sara Bareilles, a touring mate in 2009. Together, they paint brilliant hues. In a Billy Joel cover, ‘Vienna’ Lucca adds a semi-classical piano interlude, similar to what Joel might have honoured, yet unique. It’s clear that Lucca must be a long-time fan, as he took great care to champion this piece in a moving manner. With ‘Love Light’, Lucca comes full circle. In this poignant celebration of new life, swimming in gospel harmonies, he provides a perfect ending to a stunning collection. “Spread my love seeds all around/when we see them sweet precious flowers bloom/Life from heaven will so soon be found,” he sings joyfully. It recalls Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely?’ – another ode to innocence. It’s that direct, earthy and au naturale tug that makes ‘rendezvous with the angels’ resonate. You get the feeling Lucca’s meat and potatoes will be the blue plate special someday soon, and you’ll be begging for seconds.

Track Listing:-
1 Like Love
2 Make You Mine
3 Stay With Me Tonight
4 Undertow
5 Song to a Martyr
6 Anchored
7 Long Love Letter
8 Back to Me
9 Vienna
10 Some Other Time
11 Love Light
12 Always
13 Nobody but You

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Interview (2010)
Tony Lucca - Interview
Lisa Torem talks to critically acclaimed Michigan-based singer-songwriter Tony Lucca about his recently released sixth album, 'Rendezvous with the Angels'

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