Howard Wooden

Out on a Limb -- Copy 1

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Some albums simply give an hour's entertainment, while others explore an emotional theme. Howard Wooden's Out on a Limb -- Copy 1 feels like one of the latter kind, as it contains original songs he's written about loss, and one, "Roll Over," that accurately speaks from a sense of depression, when the singer just doesn't want to get up any more. "Like the Farmer Needs the Land" is a melancholy ballad about a man on the crux of having a relationship end, when he longs for it to continue. "Empty Is My Life" addresses the time after the breakup. Wooden's vocals speak honestly, on a theme that all too many will understand from the inside. Other selections included here are less mournful. "Drema Kalajian" is the most distinctive of the instrumentals, with a mysterious, exotic sound, evocative of caravans and midnight deserts. (Could wish it didn't have that fingers-slipping-on-the-strings sound, though.) "Harbor Morning," for contrast, is a yearning sea ballad, accented with soulful concertina, yet each one is equally appealing. Wooden does a capable job on the blues, as with "Beale Street," and listeners in that mood will sympathize. Yet one can't help but wonder, what would his music be like if the world turned around to the place where he was happy? Hope there's a follow-up album that will give a chance to find out.