David Baerwald channels Randy Newman on the soundtrack to Warner Brothers' family "dramedy" Around the Bend. Riffing off of Al Jolson's "The Entertainer," Baerwald blends warm, sepia-tone Americana with the quirkiness of Mark Mothersbaugh to illuminate the complex relationship between four generations of men as three of them journey south to scatter the ashes of their patriarch. The instrumental pieces are concise, nuanced and dripping with southern charm, utilizing the clarinets and soft summer strings of the New Velvet Pillow Orchestra. Baerwald uses these arrangements tastefully on the vocal portions of the score as well, especially on a cover of Tom Waits' "Shoes." It's an affective piece of work that fits the former David & David scribe's laid-back singing style, alternating between wistfully nostalgic and irreverently grumpy. Alongside classic tracks from Nilsson ("Daddy's Song"), Warren Zevon ("Carmelita"), Bob Dylan ("On the Road Again") and even a pre-Top Forty era Fleetwood Mac track ("Hi Ho Silver"), Baerwald's tasteful compositions are rendered all the more poignant, making Around the Bend a road-trip worthy success.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger