How It Feels To Fly
Wide Load

Frustrating indeed is this latest solo album from Austin guitar star David Grissom, best known for his tenures with (among others) Joe Ely, John Mellencamp, and Storyville. The music on the eight studio tracks here glistens with appealing creative splashes, his signature bristling guitar sound and incisive phrasing as well as rich, smart arrangements — really first- rate stuff — plus some authoritative singing. But the lyrics are another matter, full of largely undercooked sophomore poetry and flaccid strings of tattered, overdone and sometimes even painful rock-song clichés like “feelin’ righteous ain’t no sin,” “I’ve never felt this high,” and “come on, why don’t ya give me a little kiss?” that seriously hamper the listening experience. Fortunately, the album’s fourth track, “Way Jose,” is a simmering, jazz-inflected winner of an instrumental. The four live numbers that round out How It Feels to Fly include a good but needless note-by-note rereading of the Allman Brothers’ “Jessica” and too much of the kind of all-too-common bloozy Austin bar music best left way in the past. Of course there’s still the splendor of Grissom’s playing, and lyrical simplicity does largely work on his bittersweet duet and co-write with Kacy Crowley, “Overnight.” But that’s not near enough to warrant much of a recommendation. As gifted a guitarist as he may be, until he ups his word game or finds an equally gifted Bernie Taupin wordsmith to help him fly, Grissom’s solo career will never truly get off the ground. — ROB PATTERSON

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