Talkin' New York, Vol 9 - Soft Black

It’s easy to tell that New York singer/songwriter Vincent Cacchione worships at the same Bob Dylan-altar as his friend Eric Wolfson, whose own State Street Rambler I‘ve been hooked on for a few months now. Cacchione fronts a folk-rock band called Soft Black, and has recently released Blue Gold, their second record. It’s not surprising that Blue Gold shares the same kind of Bringing It All Back Home feel as Wolfson’s album - both were born out of the same scene (Antifolk) and both feature the same producer behind the boards (Dan Costello).

State Street Rambler was such a fun listen because of its “Bob Dylan Halloween celebration” approach - let’s make each song sound nearly identical to a different Dylan tune - Blue Gold doesn’t follow the same path. Cacchione’s voice is more akin to Bobby Bare Jr. than a true Dylan sound alike. His lyrics are often either remarkably poignant or comically ironic. The opening words to “Santa Fe” catches a delicious line with infinite potential - “I fell in love with a plate-glass girl” - and follows it up with a series of lines equally as image-filled and irreverent - “I called the cops on your wedding day/ I kissed a girl and still felt gay”, “I struck the chord and I found that spot/ I read my will to a polka dot”. It’s a funny little song, and perhaps the most immediate Soft Black gets, but is only one of many highlights running through the 11 tracks. The other 10 songs feature humor and self-deprecation as well, but also raw emotion and lyrical insights.

Soft Black follows what you may expect from an album made by folk-rock regulars within walking distance of Bleeker Street. There’s lots of acoustic guitar and harmonica, some surprisingly frenetic electric guitar solos, the occasional banjo and violin, and plenty of piano and organ as well. The rhythm section is patient and keeps things in the mid-tempo range, and although it is specifically unaccredited, either Maya Caballero or Caitlin Jaene provide some fine harmonies on “Pearl With No String”. That song houses the album’s most memorable melody as well - it’s been swirling around my head all week at work. Blue Gold is a noteworthy record from a talented artist - filled with songs that convey complex emotions but never sounds heavy handed. It’s as memorable as the city skyline from a East Village rooftop.

MP3 :: Santa Fe
MP3 :: Pearl With No String
(from Blue Gold. Buy here)
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Catch Soft Black at one of their upcoming NY shows:

10/27 - Sidewalk Café - 8PM
11/6 - Pianos. Cross Pollination. - 8PM
11/8 - Trash Bar - 8PM (Brooklyn)
12/14 - Sidewalk Café (w/ Brook Pridemore) 11PM
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