Bob Lowery

Yellow Light

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Mid-Atlantic singer-songwriter Bob Lowery has absorbed all the usual folk, rock, and blues influences and no doubt spent quite a few years playing covers in bars. Not a young phenom, but a journeyman given a shot by a newly formed independent label, he comes to his debut album with a wealth of life experience that gives him more to talk about than most artists on their first releases. Primarily, he looks at romantic situations, from the comic self-deprecation of the lead-off track, "Tell Me," to the mature regret at a youthful relationship that resulted in an abortion in "One Life." He is less effective when reflecting on a friend's suicide in "Sad Stories" and surveying young drug-takers in "Roll Call," if only because he only brings an outsider's earnestness to such portraits. Most of the fun stuff is sequenced at the end of the disc, notably "Dashboard Elvis" and the extended blues workout "Swamp Bitch From Hell," which probably makes a good encore in his sets. The best and most revealing song is the title track, in which the journeyman considers the state of the journey and worries that he's caught in between the green and the red. Some people speed up when the light turns yellow, while others hit the brakes, and some just keep moving at the same speed. For Lowery, the yellow light is a metaphor for his life, and while his first album does not herald the speedy arrival of a major talent, neither does it suggest that he should stop now. It will be interesting to see what route he takes from this crossroads.

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