Live At Tales From The Tavern by Jack Tempchin

September 30, 2012

Jack Tempchin is primarily known as a songwriter. He greatest fame came for his songs recorded by The Eagles and Glenn Frey; but other artists such as George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Kate Wolf, Tom Rush, Richie Havens, and a host of others have recorded his material.

Every once in a while he steps out of the background and issues an album of his own. On September 25, he will release his eighth album titled Jack Tempchin – Live At Tales From The Tavern. It is the latest in the Tales From The Tavern series, which records artists in intimate settings at small clubs. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Jon Dee Graham, Chris Hillman, and Steve Forbert have all recorded for the series and now Jack Tempchin joins their ranks.

His new release is a CD/DVD combo which presents him at his simple best as he sings a number of his well known songs and combines them with some newer material. It is just his voice, guitar, and harmonica, which puts a new spin on many of the tracks as it keeps the focus on the lyrics and his skill as a songwriter.

Two of his most famous Eagles compositions highlight the album. “Peaceful Easy Feeling” was made for his laid back approach but “Already Gone” is transformed from rock to a folk interpretation. Two songs associated with Glenn Frey, “The One You Love,” and “You Belong to the City,” receives similar treatment.

I had forgotten he wrote the Johnny Rivers hit, “Slow Dancing.” Here he presents a gentle version of Rivers’ mid-tempo pop rocker. When you add in such lesser known tunes such as “Bender,” “Loneliest Piano in Town,” “Jazzbird,” and “Jesus and Mohammed,” you have a fine collection of well-crafted songs.

Tempchin’s approach is about as laid back as they come, but he is perfect for a small club setting. His patter and stories between the songs only add to the atmosphere. Live At Tales From The Tavern is a heartfelt live presentation by Jack Tempchin of some of his notable material. It is a fine way to spend an hour.

Article first published as Music Review: Jack Tempchin – Jack Tempchin: Live At Tales From The Tavern on Blogcritics.

Songs by Jack Tempchin

May 9, 2009

While this is Jack Tempchin’s sixth studio album, he is best remembered as a songwriter. “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Already Gone” by the Eagles; “You Belong To The City,” “Smuggler’s Blues” and “I Found Somebody” by Glenn Frey; “Slow Dancing” by Johnny Rivers; and many other quality songs have all sprung from the fertile mind of Jack Tempchin.

Songs is his latest studio album and consists of new tunes plus a cover of his own “Smuggler’s Blues.” Tempchin has a unique lower register voice that serves him well. Here he brings it to a new series of catchy, well structured songs which are lyrically excellent.

“Out In The Desert” is a superb song in the country/rock tradition. It features a harmonica, thumping bass, and some up-tempo guitar playing which all bring life to its catchy song structure. This is a song that was made for adult contemporary airplay as the melody stays with you.

“Something In The Image” is a love song of yearning that communicates through lyrical imagery. Tempchin wisely adds some background vocals which fills out the sound and pushes this song over the top.

“Waiting” is full throttle rock ‘n’ roll with crashing guitars and pounding drums. At times he pushes his voice toward a higher octave which allows him to sail above the instrumental track.

“It Could Have Been You and Me” is almost a saloon type song. A nice piano sound pushes the song along with some accordion in the background. It is a mid-tempo creation that just smoothly rolls along.

“Box Of Memories” is a poignant country/folk ballad with a viola as a support instrument. It features sensitive lyrics of someone watching another person looking through a box of love letters.

“East Of Eden” is a tune that almost begs for the harmonies of the Eagles. It contains beautiful lyrics with a simple structure that reminds me of “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” which is a good thing.

“Couch Rider” is a funny song with ominous country/cowboy music. It talks about living vicariously through your television set. It is certainly meaningful to all the couch potatoes out there.

Songs is an album of well crafted compositions presented by a talented songwriter who hopefully will receive some personal exposure as an artist. No doubt many of these songs will end up being covered by other artists. All in all, a very listenable album but it always comes back to the quality of the songs themselves.