RECORD REVIEW: The Black Swans – Don’t Blame the Stars

The Black Swans
Don’t Blame the Stars
Misra, 2011

Jerry DeCicca is one hell of a songwriter. He has quietly amassed a catalog of gems over the course of several stellar albums, an ep and a handful of equally stellar 7″ tracks that follow a solemn tradition, a niche of singer songwriters that defy categorization. Americana? Folk? Country? The songs on Don’t Blame the Stars possess elements of all these genres, but are hardly bound to them. These are dusty, lived in ruminations on faith, friendship and the power of music, delivered in DeCicca’s unmistakable baritone. He is accompanied by an incredibly sympathetic cast of talented musicians (including long-time band-mate Noel Sayre, who tragically passed mere months after the recording of this material), resulting in the fullest sounding, most accomplished set of songs the Black Swans have produced yet. The guitar playing of Chris Forbes shines throughout. Songs like “Joe Tex”, “Sunshine Street” and “I Forgot To Change The Windshield Wipers In My Mind” are some of the most upbeat songs in the Black Swans catalog, providing a perfect balance to the somber title track and the sparse “Little Things”. Don’t Blame The Stars is as excellent an album of Americana-tinged storytelling as you are likely to hear this year. Highly recommended.

-Andrew Lampela

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