Don Gallardo’s Still Here

By Brian Rock

After fifteen years in the music business with four previous studio albums and one live album, Don Gallardo wants you to know that he’s, Still Here. On this, his fifth studio album, Don isn’t content to rest on his laurels. To help push the boundaries of his creativity, Don decided to co-write all but two of the songs on this album with some of his talented musical friends. The result is a more nuanced record, with layers of musical arrangement.

But as always, it is Don’s Folk/Singer-Songwriter sensibilities that drive the songs. In “Something I Gotta Learn,” Don sings, “The bottle puts it off until tomorrow. Then tomorrow blows in like a hurricane.” The stark poetry and insight of the lyric is buoyed by Peter Buck style electric guitar and traces of Hammond organ. So instead of getting mired in self-pity, the song rings optimistic, even as he sings, “When it all goes up in flames, it won’t ever be the same. It could be worse, or just something I gotta learn.”

In the cheerful, “Stay Awhile,” Don extends an invitation to his lover to hang around a little longer. It has the makings of a traditional Blues song, complete with barrelhouse piano; but throughout the song a Benny Goodman style clarinet blows like a fresh spring breeze and the song is transformed. Instead of begging and pleading, the song is confident and joyful; as if it knows in advance that,” the signal is clear, you ain’t going nowhere.”

The steel guitar in “The Bitter End,” allows Don to go full Country in the best possible way. The banjo in the Bob Dylan inspired, “Same Ol’ Alley Talkin’ Blues #12,” adds the right touch of back woods whimsy to accentuate his humorous lyrics. The addition of mandolin, stand up piano, electric guitar and background vocalists in songs like, “Oh Jane,” “The Golden Rule,” and “Trains Go By,” adds a wonderful depth and texture to Don’s, Jackson Browne meets Corb Lund, vocals. Rather than overshadow his voice, the expanded musical palette adds emotional resonance to his vocals. The end result is Don’s most satisfying album to date. Clearly, Don Gallardo is Still Here for good reason.  |  fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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