Record review: Robbie Schaefer's 'Strange and Lovely World'

Eddie From Ohio's Robbie Schaefer plays a solo show at the Barns at Wolf Trap.
Eddie From Ohio's Robbie Schaefer plays a solo show at the Barns at Wolf Trap. (Www.robbieschaefer.com)
Friday, November 13, 2009

ROBBIE SCHAEFER

"Strange and Lovely World"

Kindred spirits: Eddie From Ohio

Show: Thursday at the Barns at Wolf Trap. Show starts at 8 p.m. 703-255-1900. http://www.wolftrap.org.

Too often, artists make solo albums that leave listeners wondering what vision they are trying to present apart from their bands. Happily that's far from the case of Robbie Schaefer, guitarist and songwriter from Washington's favorite homegrown folk-rock band Eddie From Ohio.

His latest solo effort, "Strange and Lovely World," has all the heart of EFO but strips away the more rock tones. What's left is something akin to Schaefer unplugged, and that's a lovely sound.

Take "Just in Case," a folk song with a smattering of acoustic guitar and a few keyboards, which could easily be an adult lullaby or even just a silent reflection on modern life. "There are lots of people in this town/And all of them are beautiful/Yes, all of them are beautiful/But not one of them is you," Schaefer sings.

But this artist is certainly no one-trick wonder as shown in the sequencing of this album, which moves from soft folk to more poppy, up-tempo tunes. There's plenty of range here, but Schaefer knows his sound and doesn't go adrift. Consider "Carolina," a perky folk number full of locomotive imagery and string work that almost echoes the sound of trains. Combined with some lovely harmonies, the song is a toe tapper that would sound at home in the Grand Ole Opry.

Keep the faith, Robbie. You strike all the right chords.

-- Nancy Dunham


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