Good Good Man
Vance Gilbert is superlative, and he has outdone himself on his latest album, Good Good Man. The songs on Good Good Man are soulfelt, funky, Jazz-infused, with a wall of sound quality and an impressive list of guests that include blues and singer/songwriter Chris Smither, Tommy Malone of the Subdudes on guitar, Herb Gardner on piano and trombone, Stacy Wade (Al Green’s organist), and Neale Eckstein, Mike Posner on backing vocals, and Celtic harpist and vocalist Aine Minough.
“Pie and Whiskey,” opens the album with an arrangement that includes a subtle string arrangement by keyboard player Brad Hatfield, with jazz infused guitar by Tommy Malone and bass by Craig Akin. The title track, “Good Good Man,” is soulful. Malone’s guitar solo, the organ, and a trio of background singers are beautifully arranged. “Trust” is a funky organ-infused tongue in cheek song punctuated with horns and electric guitar. The spoken word “Zombie Pattycake” sings with funky hilarity that features Abbie’s dad, Herb Gardner, on trombone. “Another Great Day Above Ground” is a toe-tapping acoustic blues featuring Gardner on trombone and Chris Smither on acoustic guitar. The slide guitar on “Hitman” is haunting. There are strong impactful ballads on Good Good Man, as Vance Gilbert does beautifully, but the spoken word “The Day Before November” is the best one of them all.
Don’t try to put Vance Gilbert in a box, he won’t fit. His music style is as wild and untamed as his bright alligator shoes, his funky glasses, or his hair that sometimes goes each and every way with a mind of its own. Vance Gilbert is funny. Vance Gilbert is theatrical. Vance Gilbert sings like and angel, and Vance Gilbert can play guitar better than a concert pianist. Go see him live, but get this album too. Good Good Man, I believe, has captured the essence of Vance Gilbert. I believe it’s his best to date, and I have almost all of his thirteen albums. Good Good Man “does the typical Vance all across the map thing, stylistically careening from early ‘70’s R&B to acoustic swing to AC (Almost Celtic) to spoken word.” It’s eclectic and unpredictable and Good Good Man.
- Viola Krouse