Track of the Day: 'Eastover Wives'

Past TracksIf you follow the path of male troubadours through the ages, it takes a strange turn. You go from the straightforward crooning styles of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin to Serge Gainsbourg, Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker, on down to the demented disco of Gary Wilson. Somewhere along the way the bravado of the single man with a microphone crooning to a dark nightclub warped into a very different beast. And that leads to Dent May.

May, a Mississippi-born singer and ukeleleist, is heir to this proud troubadour tradition and seems to be willing to take it in yet another direction. Sadly, he gets burdened with terms like "kitchy" and "whimsical" as if his whole persona was ironic schtick. On the contrary, he appears as the last of a dying species of truly authentic balladeers.

"Eastover Wives" and "Howard" are mini-song cycles that tell of love, loss, and desperation in the swinging dulcet tones that would be right at home amongst Perry Como. He just happens to be singing within contemporary context. Instead of the girl getting in a car crash just before the couple was about to be married, his songs revolve around characters that get bored and start a one-man show.


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Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones is a Washington, D.C.-based writer whose work has also appeared in the Toronto Star, Morning News, Washington City Paper, and the Awl.

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