Peter Himmelman

The Boat That Carries Us

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Over the course of a career that's lasted close to three decades and shows no sign of fading out, Peter Himmelman has earned a richly deserved reputation as a singer and songwriter whose work is thoughtful and deeply personal, and whatever the whims of the music business may be, this man is not about to stop following his muse. 2014's The Boat That Carries Us was not only released by Himmelman's own label, he financed the project through fan donations via Kickstarter, and the results are quintessential Peter Himmelman, full of passion, emotions writ large, and broad lyrical landscapes that manifest themselves in the stuff of everyday lives. With Himmelman calling the shots on this project, he was able to persuade two longtime colleagues to participate, bassist Leland Sklar and drummer Jim Keltner, and having one of the best rhythm sections on Earth certainly helped for these sessions; the sinewy, understated groove of this music is a great accompaniment for Himmelman's grainy but powerful vocals and unpretentiously literate lyrics, and guitarist David Steele and keyboardist Will Gramling add rich and rootsy tones to the melodies. Himmelman's musical palette on The Boat That Carries Us is based in roots rock, but at its core, this is an album in the old singer/songwriter tradition, and Himmelman is unapologetic in his desire to write about the stuff of lives both big and small, the human condition as well as the human heart, and he makes himself understood on each of these 12 songs. Maybe albums like The Boat That Carries Us aren't supposed to happen in 2014, but Himmelman clearly isn't going to stop speaking from his soul until his heart finally gives out, and it sounds like he's got many miles to go before that happens -- good news for anyone who cares about great songwriting.