Steve Woodhams

Lost Dog

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What could be more potentially exciting than discovering a man in the middle of his years with a collection of 16 timeless folk and rock songs perfectly executed? Steve Woodhams of Santa Cruz, CA is that discovery. Recalling the best songwriters of his generation, as well as those from before and after his time -- from John Lennon and Gene Clark to Paul Westerberg and Elliot Smith -- Woodhams keeps his sound homegrown by using organic instruments, from mandolin to gentle percussion and natural piano. His "I tried to love you but..." lyrics stand in simultaneous contrast and synch with his gentle (but not wimpy) musical treatments. Eastern percussion wends its way into the bitter pop song "Second Marriage"; "Just Another Mystery" has a muted, inside-out verse; and "The Fire (Might Get Burned)" points toward a partner's contrariness. For all of his bile and tunesmithing quotient, you could call Woodhams "the Aimee Mann of the Santa Cruz Mountains."

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