B.K. Diaz

The Pursuit of Happiness

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Some people say that the music of Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter B.K. Diaz sounds a lot like that of Los Lonely Boys. One might also venture the opinion that he sings like a cross between Freddy Fender and Randy Newman -- and you have to love the fact that he used to tour as a backup keyboardist for White Lion, REO Speedwagon, and Iron Butterfly. His solo albums, of which this is the second, are in more of a country-rock mode, with strong hints of the Tex-Mex border running through his sound like a vein of copper in a granite boulder. The production quality on this album is only so-so, and his voice isn't always as far up in the mix as it should be, but once in a while that works in his favor (as when he strains, in vain, to hit those high notes on "Anyhow Anyway"). Elsewhere, the songs mostly succeed despite the lackluster sonics; Diaz has a definite melodic gift, and he shows it off on standout tracks like "Time Flies" and "Prove My Love" (which deftly recycles one of the most frequently used chord progressions in all of pop music). He also knows how to shed new light on old classics, as he does with his country-funk arrangement of the old Simon & Garfunkel chestnut "Homeward Bound." Get this guy in a studio with a really good producer and let's see what happens.

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