PETER HIMMELMAN "The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep" Himmasongs

Friday, July 13, 2007

PETER HIMMELMAN"The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep"Himmasongs

IN "ROCK GOD," the ironic, revealing and often funny documentary that accompanies Peter Himmelman's new album, "The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep," the veteran singer-songwriter trudges from one small, "undersold" club to another during an extensive tour, often, he says, "playing with a band of middle-age guys that aren't really a band anymore."

Yet there's no stopping him, even if he's convinced that the difference between "dreaming a dream and pursuing a dream is that the pursuit involves dragging a lot of people down with you." Nothing if not quotable, Himmelman reflects on his new wave roots, back when fame and hair were his only concerns, and shrugs off his lofty reputation among critics -- "the best songwriter you've never heard of," blah, blah, blah -- in light of the harsh realities he faces on the road.

"The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep," Himmelman's 10th album, isn't likely to change things. No doubt it will garner a lot of praise, and rightfully so, since among the album's 13 tracks are numerous reminders of his cunning songcraft and underrated guitar work. The title track is an ominous blues song that evokes the "Oh Mercy" days of Bob Dylan, Himmelman's father-in-law. "The Ship of Last Hope" is an oddly comforting song that turns despair on its head, while "Killer" is a slashing, gig-ready guitar romp. "17 Minutes to 1" and "Good Idea," both standouts for different reasons, offer more proof that Himmelman is still worthy of the raves he has received in the past. But after watching "Rock God," you know he's not betting that life on the road will get easier anytime soon.

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Tuesday at Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis and Wednesday at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue.

Listen to an audio clip of Peter Himmelman.

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