Evan Emge

Along Came a Guitar

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Try to picture an irreverent, nutty singer/songwriter who combines some Stevie Wonder influence with an anti-folk attitude, a big dose of dorkiness and a great deal of locker room humor. That's pretty much what Evan Emge goes for on Along Came a Guitar, and some of the time, it works. Of course, there are major, major differences between Wonder's lyrics (which can be quite eloquent and poetic) and Emge's madcap rantings. But if you listen closely, there are hints of Wonder (or at least Jamiroquai) in Emge's work -- not in his lyrics, but in his melodies (which are best described as folk-rock/anti-folk with hints of R&B at times) and his vocals. Emge's singing, however, has an oddly nasal quality that Wonder's doesn't; unlike Wonder, Emge sounds goofy, which is exactly what wacky tunes like "Boobies," "Bipolar" and "Eleventeen" call for. Whether he is singing about people with mental illness failing to take their meds or describing venereal diseases, Emge never takes himself too seriously on this CD. One of the things the sex-obsessed Emge loves to sing about is women's bodies, but he doesn't do it in a macho, chest-thumping, he-man Sammy Hagar/Ted Nugent kind of way--rather, he comes across as the high-school or college freshman dork who thinks about sex constantly but has a hard time getting it. And that geekiness is a big part of the awkward charm of this 2004 release, which is inconsistent and uneven but is definitely good for some cheap thrills here and there.

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