July 4th, 2017
Artist: Dave Pomeroy
Album: Angel In The Ashes
Score 95 out of 100
“I got a date with a bass, I won’t be coming over to your place, see there’s this melody I’m tryin’ to chase; I got a date with a bass” And so these clever lines, with a very cool string bass accompaniment, followed by great explanations of dashed expectations, flow all the way through the opening tune. “Date With A Bass” carries the tale of paramour Pomeroy’s excuse for why he stood up Ms. Mona Va Voom. It gets him off the cad hook, but does make her play second fiddle to a 1940’s Kay double bass. But Dave is a standup guy, and a fretless, fretted, dobro, banjo, piccolo, micro and more bass guy, who used 41 different and unique basses to create a sound spectrum you will not believe. Nor would you believe, if I didn’t tell you, that basses are the only instruments used here, besides his honest voice. The group centerfold photo of the instrument assemblage in the liner notes, explains a lot of where Dave is coming from, and he’s coming from all over the world—he was raised in a military family and the few places his Dad wasn’t stationed at, Dave has probably visited them with many major touring acts over the last 40 years or so.
Pomeroy is also a Nashville studio first-call guy and experienced producer, whose creativity and tastes know no boundaries. He started out in Nashville playing for several folk and country icons like Guy Clark and Don Williams—well over 15 years with Williams alone. He’s recorded and performed with Elton John, Willie Nelson, Earl Klugh, Mose Allison, Steve Winwood , Chet Atkins, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Dr. John, Alan Jackson, and more than enough other names to fill up the allotted space for this review, and that history helps explain the diversity that is spread over these 14 tracks (17 songs if you count the three-song Motown medley under the title of “Ball Of Money In The Cloud” that took 21 basses and 51 tracks of recording space to create).
Besides some very serious originals, like “Godspeed” and the title tune “Angel In The Ashes,” Pomeroy leans on writers as diverse as Charles Mingus, Guy Clark, Jesse Winchester and Buddy Mondlock, who provide song styles that are all over the map. Mondlock’s “Break the Cup” was a standout for me. There are also some short instrumental interludes, that,like water at a wine tasting, helps prepare your palate for the next sonic sojourn.
I’d give this a 100, but I got to shave off a few points only because of one of the other hats Dave has worn in Nashville for the last decade. That of the president of Local 257, American Federation Of Musicians. See, his covering all the tracks so well knocked a few of his brothers off the sessions, which also took him ten years to finish up. But knowing how much he has given to the membership, on their behalf, I would say, they too will forgive him. After all, he had “A Date With A Bass, I’m Sorry I Won’t See Your Pretty Face, Nothing But This Could Ever Take Your Place, I Had A Date With A Bass, Just Me And My Bass.”