Byron Wiemann III

Safe in Africa

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After a relatively consistent recording schedule in the '70s and early '80s with Sigmund Snopek, Byron Wiemann's recording sessions became few and far between. In 1991 he released the independent Welcome to Hazard Farm and in 2003 Safe in Africa. While the 1991 release was predominantly acoustic-based, the latter periodically unleashes his dormant rock & roll playing. His supporting cast of bassist/producer Jim Foitik and drummer Andreas Keller creates a group dynamic that suites Wiemann's playing and songwriting better than the sparser arrangements from his previous solo outing. "Feeling American" is a rocker that recalls his work with Snopek over two decades earlier, and "Heavy Enough" is an infectious pop piece specifically resembling "Avenue Motion" from First Band on the Moon. "She's a Lady" is an offbeat glance into how romance gradually slips into the mundane. "Backwards" is a funky number decrying pop culture's increasing obsession with attaining celebrity and monetary status that wouldn't sound out of place on David Bowie's Lodger. Safe in Africa is an artistic pop album with astute social commentary accompanied by some catchy music.