Damien Leith

Catch the Wind: Songs of a Generation

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Catch the Wind: Songs of a Generation is a quite peculiar follow-up to Damien Leith's proper debut album, 2007's Where We Land, and unfortunately it goes a long way towards erasing the praise he received for that album, one of the better debuts by a winner of a television singing contest. This utterly average collection of baby boomer classics is sheer hack work, the sort of cynical album pop singers used to churn out back in the '50s and '60s, "[insert name here] Sings the Hits of [insert musical style/country/hit songwriter/etc. here]!" Leith -- who was born in 1976 -- sings as if he has no personal connection to the songs, and given most of the songs here, that's not a surprise. The portentous subtitle leads one to expect a set of generational anthems, but aside from a pair of protest tunes each by Bob Dylan and Donovan (all of them delivered in a heavy-handed, subtlety-free fashion), the 18-track set is far more heavily tilted in favor of weedy soft rock singer/songwriter types like Cat Stevens, Bread, John Denver, Peter Frampton, and Jim Croce. The closest to edgy it gets is a pair of Neil Young tunes, but even then, "Old Man" and "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" are two of the Neiler's soppiest, and besides, Saint Etienne's dance-pop cover of the latter from 1991 crushes this pallid acoustic take like a grape. This kind of album is expected from the likes of Clay Aiken, but from a potentially good singer/songwriter like Damien Leith, it can only be considered a big disappointment.

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