Review of The Best Version of "Gloria" Ever There Was

The Best Version of “Gloria” Ever There Was
Reviewed by Danna Williams
The Best Version of “Gloria” Ever There Was
2006 Business Deal
Imagine a musician who sounds like he was listening to early rock and rhythm & blues radio in the ’50s, ’60s and maybe early ’70s. Then picture him descending underground for about 20 years with a guitar, and a seemingly limitless supply of notebooks and pens. Now wonder what he wrote…Concrete and abstract observations, stream-of-consciousness poems transformed into lyrics, eventually set to heartfelt rock ‘n’ roll – something I didn’t realize I missed until I heard Cavedweller live for the first time at Trophy’s in February.
Cavedweller, a.k.a. Dirk Michener, formed a one-man musical project with an occasional live band in Denton, TX in the mid ’90s. And with acoustic and electric guitars interchangeably in hand he pays homage to early American folk, blues and country – the precursors of rock.
As much as I enjoyed his last CD, 2004’s Sugary Glue and A Bow of Bees (he seems to prefer long titles these days compared to his first releases, dating back to 1996), The Best Version of “Gloria” Ever There Was is his most accessible recording so far. “A Horse And A Man” gently shepherded me like a lamb on a West Texas hillside. The iconic James Brown and the gutsy vocal delivery of Cavedweller become the heroes of the blues rocker, “Augusta, GA”. Can you fall in love with a CD? By the time I heard what could be an ode to the best of ’60s rock, “Eyez”, I thought it was possible; and after “Black Black Magic” I was ready to make a commitment. Maybe it was the lyrics: “I believe in girls who believe in rock & roll.” Thank you Cavedweller for making a believer out of me again. ..>..>
As for the rest of The Best Version… the entire recording could become a muddle of music in less capable hands. But the musicianship and production keep it from becoming just another last gasp of rock. His love of the music will challenge the passive listener, evident in the acid tantric dream “Steppingwolfe”, complete with tantric guitar strumming and flute. Cavedweller manages to breathe new life in the psychedelic rock genre – perfectly pairing dark humor with offbeat lyricism (“Forget About Heaven” and “We Built The Thing As Pony Clock Guided”).
The nasal, whiny vocals and repetitive piano of “The Blow” could be the only slice of overindulgence, but the sacred wordplay hymn “This Time Will Be The Last Time” had me hoping this won’t be the last I hear from Cavedweller. Want to hear real live rock ‘n’ roll? Check or for shows throughout this month – solo and with a live band. (A) DW

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