A true unsung classic of the '60s folk boom, Steve Gillette contains several oft-covered compositions ("Darcy Farrow," "2:10 Train"), the importance of which has often overshadowed Gillette and crew's stellar performances. Gillette, unlike some of his more politically oriented contemporaries, is here unafraid to be unabashedly romantic, crooning his unforgettable songs in a smooth baritone more reminiscent of Bob Goulet than Bob Dylan. His timeless tunes often have the feel of hundred-year-old American folk classics, conjuring images of dark forests, steam locomotives and fairy tale love affairs. The backing musicians provide sparse, understated accompaniment throughout, perfectly complementing Gillette's mellow strains with delicate watercolor-like playing. Like a less depressed, American version of Nick Drake, Steve Gillette spins his tales with a quiet intensity on songs that can be alternately filled with longing ("The Bells in the Evening") or chilling despair ("The Erlking"). Although subsequent efforts never matched the consistency of this, his first album, Steve Gillette is an absolute must-have for any fan of Tom Rush, early Joni Mitchell, Tim Hardin or the like.
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AllMusic Review by Pemberton Roach