And Now Introducing Avi Fox-Rosen
by Guy Emanuel
You know when your friend has a friend that plays music and you go to dinner and eventually music comes up in the conversation and he mentions he finished an album and would love for you to hear it. Well, generally you are left thinking, “that’s nice” but you are also left thinking that it probably won’t be anything special. I don’t know, maybe I’m just a pessimist, or maybe the majority of times I have been in that situation the music turned out to be standard singing with standard guitar accompaniment. Well, I popped on Avi Fox-Rosen’s “One” album and the only thing standard that comes to mind is that maybe these songs sound so classic that they could perhaps be dubbed “standards” for the singer song writting crowd.
Avi Fox-Rosen is a Jamie Cullum with a guitar and a brilliantly influenced Jeff Buckley fan. The music sweeps in with a finger picking that makes you feel like you are laying back on a hammock in Martha’s Vineyard without a worry in the world. From the heartfelt opening lyrics “I’d like to say that I could give you my heart, but I can’t/It’s still beating in my chest and I need it for the time being,” I can tell I won’t be leaving this hammock for a little while. The guitar playing is so in tune with the singing its obvious he is the one playing it, but the singing is what takes this music throughout all the turns and tells the story. “Contradiction” is the second track and establishes Avi as a true poet. “If you are hording all your money while you criticize the poor. sing it hey hey! If you fought equal opportunity, but money got you in the door. sing hey hey!”. These lines sound like they would fit right in at any juke joint, and I can almost hear the applaudatory snaps as the orchestral arrangement jumps in.
It is the fourth track, “Man” that speaks to me the most. “Mans home is his palace/mans palace is his mind.” Avi definitely plays the philosopher on this track and it fits well with his existential writing throughout the album. The most powerful moment is the chorus. “Man walks tall carries a big stick / doesn’t take no shit from a little man / a man smiles not / a man cries not and a man takes anything he pleases as his lover / a man does not….desire other men except as allies of war and conquest…and a man dies alone…” After the intensity of these lyrics, there is a sudden empty vacuum of sound, and just when I think its all over, the soothing finger picking that began the album off returns to thematically tie the album together. The chorus is sung once again but slowly, and this time with an obvious pride….
As the album progresses it is apparent that even if Avi isn’t giving us his heart, he is definitely lending it to us with each chord and lyric.