At the close of recording Song And Dance Man, Mike Plume had one day remaining of studio time. Rather than spend the day packing up and thanking all who contributed to the project, Plume decided to make the most of it. Recording Simplify in approximately six hours, the end result is a slight departure for the roots rock musician. The scant amount of time may appear like a rush job at best. But the album, whose title is taken from a track of his Song And Dance Man album, is far from it. Traditionally known as a roots rocker in the vein of Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen, Plume showcases his softer, sparser side after a rousing, toe-tapping "Straight Back Home." Using a sound and a style that tend to leave each song at its essential core, Plume creates an intimacy on tracks such as "The Back Of My Hand" and "Another Train Song." "The Graveyard Shift" and "A Buck And A Half's Profit" are small town narratives which would draw comparisons to The Cash Brothers track "Night Shift Guru." With just his vocals and acoustic guitar carrying the album's sonic brunt, Plume does a more than adequate job of engaging the listener over basic, three-minutes songs. Although there are occasional traces of alt-country instruments such as dobro, the feeling isn't overtly alt-country. Perhaps the album's highlight is the harmony from Plume and Trish Wight on "The Back Of My Hand." The economical songwriting is another asset, particularly on "Everyday Is Another Day" and "We're Still Here." Near the album's conclusion, one gets the feeling that the empty spaces in the songs is equally as important as the music. It is a perfect fit on a CD shelf between Springsteen's Nebraska and Steve Earle's Train A Comin'.
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AllMusic Review by Jason MacNeil