Artist: Seth Glier
Album: If I Could Change One Thing
Label: MPress Records
Release Date: 04/07/2015
Seth Glier’s trio packs a wallop, partly because everything they do strikes a familiar chord but nothing they do fits a formula. Folk lyrics with a pop feel, philosophical musings with a backbeat and grown-up love songs delivered in Glier’s youthful tenor hold our attention.
Both the title track—a personal favorite—and “Lift You Up” are replete with the regrets so many of us feel when forced to admit that an important love affair won’t succeed. Typical of Glier’s output, the lyrics convey passion without a trace of bitterness or anger. Even Glier’s songs like “Standing Still” (which in no uncertain terms protests society’s apathy toward our fellow human beings as well as Mother Earth) is couched as a motivational talk to himself, not an accusation of others’ indifference. He makes us look inside ourselves, not because he tells us to, but by example.
I’ve heard most of this album played live, and unlike many well-produced albums, the songs come across effectively even after the studio bells and whistles have been stripped away. Glier and his longtime bandmate, saxophonist Joe Nerney, both consummate musicians, perform these well-written songs without attempting to recreate strings and choruses and multitracking with three guys; instead they change up the song’s foundation and make it work right here, right now.
“Scars,” a mid-tempo, heavily rhythmic mood piece replete with slide guitar deserves Top 40 radio play, as do “Proof” and “Electricity,” which could be covered effectively by Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars or Michael Jackson, but which stand up well in the folk fests that Glier often plays. Go figure.
To sum up Glier’s latest release: If I could change one thing, I wouldn’t.
– Suzanne Cadgène