Stephen Yerkey

Confidence, Man

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

West Virginia-born and San Francisco-based singer/songwriter Stephen Yerkey debuts here with a self-penned mix of country, blues, and jazz-informed gems. Redolent of the urbane and darkish brand of cabaret folk served up by Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Tom Waits, Yerkey's songs also offer up a similarly dreamy and gritty spin on city living and relationships. His bruised baritone is heard to particularly fine effect on album highlights like "If I Do Dream of You," "Simple Things," and "The '600' Club" (the latter cut is one of four produced by Captain Beefheart and Pere Ubu alum Eric Drew Feldman and reflects the mercurial and claustrophobic sound those groups were famous for). Yerkey further plies his wide-ranging talents with the updated honky tonk weeper "Stay Close to Me" and the organ and country-swing narrative "Speak the Same to Everyone." Helped out nicely by Bay Area musical luminaries like drummer Scott Amendola and guitarists Joe Gore (PJ Harvey and Oranj Symphonette) and Jim Campilongo, Yerkey finds a way, like Waits and Mark Eitzel, to seamlessly integrate roots elements into a uniquely modern-sounding mix of songs.

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