Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
Two years ago, when poring over his On Tape release, I compared Tempest drummer Adolfo Lazo to Alan White, Yes' percussionist, in that estimable latter gent's solo incarnation. Unlike the expected from bandmate Jon Anderson in Olias of Sunhillow and a surprisingly meaty Fish Out of Water by Chris Squire, not to mention exactly what was expected of Steve Howe…and less, White was arresting for his electicity (is that even a friggin' word?…well, it is now), and that's precisely what fetches the listener to Lazo, that intriguing blend of off-the-wall and, in this case, surprisingly rural sounds. More than once, I had to check to make sure I hadn't tossed on a Ry Cooder LP that had mutated after an unholy union with David Lindley and then backslid to Donovan and Dan Hicks. In that, the choice of Dave Halverson and James Crocker on electric guitars was 234-1/2% on the money.
Lazo takes up the drumming and vocal duties, also playing acoustic guitar, but here decided to mellow out more firmly than was evident in the 2008 disc; hence, one catches a bit of Richie Kotzen, some James Lee Stanley, and an often strongly latinate influence that wafts throughout the CD, even when not purposely on display. I'd Do (Anything for You), for instance, has a cool Edu Lobo sense and flavor to it, mixed with touches of Country Joe MacDonald and Jesse Colin Young. If you're getting the sense that Flowers on Gooey Sand Dunes (Dude!, weird effin' title!!) is neither Tempest, his home group, nor On Tape, you've got it exactly.
900 Miles sparkles with breezy swingin' background vocals and snappy composition while the follower Oh You Know It has a Taj Mahal island sound, a sunny delta with a mid-summer ring to it. Everything about this disc, in fact, is 100% in the traditional FAME listener venue, so much so that if Lazo keeps on in this direction, I won't be a bit surprised to read of him in among a raft of well-known individuals in one of the Putumayo label's many fine outings. Ever is dead-on in that vein, but then so are most of the rest of the proffered cuts, every one of them a really good exercise in mellifluous songcraft………er, though I doubt Beach Penis, a Loggins & Messina-esque rocker, especially with its humorously ironic metaphors, will ever find its way onto any mainstream label's ventures, anthologic or otherwise.