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Title - 'One More Crooked Dance’
Artist - Jules Shear

For those not in the know, Jules Shear is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist who wrote the Cyndi Lauper hit single "All Through the Night" and The Bangles' hit "If She Knew What She Wants". Oh, and he also charted a hit as a solo performer with "Steady" in 1985.

Today, Jules Shear isn’t being cagy when he insists he doesn’t know what the songs on his 13th studio album, One More Crooked Dance (Funzalo Records), and first since 2013’s Longer to Get to Yesterday are about!

He really doesn’t, at least without being able to consult a lyric sheet, which is nowhere in sight at the moment. With nary a guitar, bass or drum in earshot, Shear didn’t have to wander far from his longtime Woodstock, N.Y., home, corralling locals Pepe (piano), touring partner Molly Farley (vocals) and the legendary John Sebastian (harp) at his neighborhood health food store and somehow cajoling them to join him at his friend’s nearby home studio.

1. ‘Rules of the Game’
2. ‘Painkiller’
3. ‘Be With You’
4. ‘Don't Remember’
5. ‘Guessing’
6. ‘Looking For Me’
7. ‘The Hunter & the Hunted’
8. ‘A Color That Barely Exists’
9. ‘Oh Marlena’
10. ‘This Flame’
11. ‘Half Hearted Heart’
12. ‘When It's Right’
13. ‘Wrong Again’

On an album bass lined out by some dulcet piano playing, Shear opens with ‘Rules of the Game’ before gently (oh so gently) upping the tempo somewhat on the throaty ‘Painkiller’. The harmonica-opened ’Be With You’ is one of the best, for my money, on this album, and that’s back by both ‘Don’t Remember’ and the angelic, chorus like ‘Guessing.’

Next comes another great track on the thoughtful key work of ‘Looking For Me’ which Shear follows with the quietly beautiful ‘The Hunter and the Hunted’, the perky piano work of ‘A Color that Barely Exists’, and both ‘Oh Marlena’ and the playful ‘This Flame.’

‘Half-Hearted Head’ is a strong track, perhaps the strongest out of the 13, and that’s backed by the wonderful ‘When It’s Right’, before the new offering from Shear rounds out with the resounding ‘Wrong Again.’

Shear’s album might not be what you would want to play at a party, sure, I’ll give you that, but it’s definitely an album chock full of pure, unadulterated musical songwriter and lyrical genius. Which alone is worth it’s weight in gold in this busy, crowded business.

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