Mahan, Greg : Thirty-Five-Cent Daydream
Mahan's bread-and-butter is elegant, graceful and often poetic Americana music, with songs built around his sturdy acoustic playing and imagery-laden lyrics. On Daydream, there are some of Mahan's best ever songs in that style (the minimal title track and the slow-burner, "Fireflies"), but the rest of the album shows that he is not limited to any one specific "genre" when writing. Calypso rhythms imbue "Mento" with a sassy strut, sounding like a weird mesh of Graceland-era Paul Simon and neo-Eastern European revivalists like DeVotchKa, while "Wink 'n' a Smile" closes the album on a playful, sunny Pop note. Producer Brian Lovely helps achieve a crisp sound that allows the songs to breath and the musicians that flesh out the arrangements (with everything from strings to drums) perform flawlessly. Thirty-Five-Cent Daydream sounds as good as any "Roots" album you'll hear this year, local or otherwise. Here's a prediction for ya - local NPR affiliate WNKU is going to play the shit out of this one. Other programmers would be smart to follow suit. -Mike Breen, Cincinnati CityBeat.