Goodmorning Valentine's Joey Beltram sings a little like Chris Isaak and writes a lot like Jackson Browne. And if he can continue to do it with some regularity, Northeast Ohio can boast a major new talent. He has plenty of help from the rest of the band -- six other Akron-Kent players contribute trumpets, violins, keyboards, and cello. The studio must have been crowded, but you'd never guess it to listen to Easter Park.
A producer could easily morph the songs into quality power-pop or country, but the disc sounds as if a freshly heartbroken veteran singer-songwriter is sitting down to a piano and bleeding out a slow, sad set. Beltram never wears thin, alternating between cynical ("I'll stay worried/If you stay sane" in the jangling "I'll Stay Worried") and romantic, as in the pensive track: "Let's take a walk down to Easter Park/After the sun has long since set/We'll sit and watch the bars fill up/And smoke our cigarettes." Writing real songs isn't fashionable anymore, but he does it -- thank you.