Artist: Radoslav Lorkovic
Album: The Line
Label: Shed Records
Release Date: 06/03/2016
This is a re-issued and remastered version of Rad’s 1991 second solo release, among six solo releases over the past 25 years or so for the master keyboardist. If you’re not familiar with him, you should seek out his work with Jimmy LaFave, numerous folk artists like Richard Shindell and Ellis Paul, and Music Road Records artists like Levi Parham (who has a forthcoming debut on June 24th). He got started in the states with Bo Ramsey and the Sliders, and later with Greg Brown. Lorkovic has a major presence at many prestigious folk festivals due to his versatility and willingness to support many artists. However, to simply label Lorkovic a folk artist, as All Music has done, is a grave disservice to Rad’s immense keyboard talents, and to those who know him well, his insatiable love for all kinds of music. Across four of his six solo albums that I’ve heard, he tends to favor classic blues, New Orleans piano in the vein of Professor Longhair, Randy Newman songs and classical pieces among a wide range of material.
Born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1958, Lorković’s initial exposure to music can be attributed to two grandmothers. Antonija, his maternal Grandmother, sang him Croatian, Slovenian and Czech folk songs since birth. At age one he was reported to be singing back on pitch. During this time, classical music played in the home constantly due to the influence of his paternal grandmother, Melita Lorković, an internationally renowned classical pianist. After this blend of central European musical influences Radoslav moved to the United States at age six.
Rad comments on this recording, “It was a fairly hasty follow-up to my debut and still definitive CD Clear and Cold. I had written a song called “Duty Free Dubronik.” It was inspired by a New York Times article depicting the huge party the rampaging JNA (Jugoslav National Army) threw when they ‘liberated’ the duty free shop at the Dubronik airport. Luckily that’s about as far as they got into Dubroniik. I built the album around this theme, along with the subtext of the 1991 Iraq war which occurred at the same time. It was recorded with all the superlatives of the fabulous studio M in St. Paul. Best Steinway piano in the land and a famously well- equipped and staffed studio. The remastering really brings these qualities to the surface.”
Rad layers in accordion and organ and sings on six of the dozen tracks, a mix of originals and covers that run the gamut of the aforementioned styles. His voice is much like Eric Andersen’s, but the real beauty lies in the clarity of the recording and his many dynamic changes. Visit www.radoslavlorkovic.com for this and others in Lorkovic’s catalog.