Bill Mize

Coastin'

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

This album is an exciting development in Mize's career. It opens with a brushes-shuffle, from which Mize tears into a driving bassline and acoustic-rock style lead. Added to this is a Hammond B-3 line, all of which lets the listener know that this is not the pensive Mize of previous work. "Soulmate" continues this trend, with a style reminiscent of '50s love songs; Martha Jacobs' cello work on this piece fits perfectly, and in fact graces all but two songs with added counterpoint and melodicism. Throw in a rocking version of Al Green's "Take Me to the River" and a bluesy take on the Beatles' "Come Together" and the listener begins to realize how versatile the solo acoustic guitar can be in the hands of a great musician. Mize also covers several of his own songs with Jacobs' accompaniment; while she adds a perfect ominous undertone to "Miasma," they seem to struggle with the changing dynamics and feel of "Spring Fever." The combination reaches its apex on the closing "The Water is Wide"; while Mize recorded a similar version for Sugarlands, the cello's haunting take of the melody perfectly captures the mood and emotions of Mize's arrangement. The only frustration with this album is the lack of new, quality compositions (only four songs are new, one of which, "Icawajoya," is less a song than a blues jam). Mize's stylistic repetoire has expanded greatly with this collection, and one can only hope he is able to compose new pieces incorporating these changes.

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