There are usually two types of singer-songwriter artists out there. One has a strong, passionate delivery with perfect control, and uses his or her vocal instrument in all its glory and fervor.
The second relies on a more talking/singing expression — they do not reach deep to hit almost out-of-range notes; nor do they use much tonal inflection. Instead, they purposely make a statement that their message is in the storytelling.
Max Garcia Conover is of the latter. His new CD, “Burrow,” is a lovely representation of metaphoric poetry and engaging guitar work mixed with raw, scratchy singing.
Not really concerned with hitting perfect notes or using vibrato, Conover goes for a Dylanesque feel, using vocal starkness in contrast to the beauty and flow of his lyrics and guitar playing.
The first track, “Teem,” is an instrumental featuring a laid-back guitar, and sets the stage for the voice to announce charming poetry in reflective spirit for the rest of the album.
In “Evergreen Cemetery,” we are introduced to the enchanting use of metaphor in nature that Conover uses over and over again throughout “Burrow.”
Combining animal emotion with clarified nature depictions results in a realization of the wild:
“There was a leaf rain coming that would stop between the sky and ground/ And running though, you could drink it just by opening your mouth/ But before, you couldn’t stand the sadness or the thirst of an overcast/ And even worse, when it was good, you knew it always came back.”
“The Beast” shines a light on a female voice, Sophie Nelson, who sings through most of the song with Conover, weaving in and out of his intricate and delightful guitar playing.
The last track, “The Wedding Line,” tells an abstract tale of a wedding and the ghosts and bodies in attendance, all of whom have their own stories. Conover writes as if he were an 80-year-old man in a sense, with a wisdom of the human condition and how it reflects all of everything.
Take a listen and be swept through rain-soaked forests and weeds as high as steeples.
Swathe yourself in the stark, honest voice and delightfully mellow finger-picking guitar of Max Garcia Conover, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be pleased as punch.
Kristin DiCara-McClellan is a freelance writer.