Last Song on the Soundtrack
It's easy to take Brent Kirby for granted. The guy has a natural, understated attitude and blends in with the Jack Fords and the Ohio City Singers when he's not doing the solo thing. And yet, he's one of Cleveland's finest singer-songwriters. This, his second album, suggests as much. Sounding more like something out of Nashville, the album offers a nice mix of country and roots-rock. There's a great pedal-steel riff running through the breezy "Silently Stepping Out Surreal," and Hammond B3 gives "Funny Photos" real warmth. While ballads like "Dream the Night Away," "Lonesome Holiday" and "Somewhere Down the Line" come off as a bit too tepid, they're consistent with the rest of the album's tone. Drive-By Truckers-like epic rocker "Holding That's Hard" is the album's centerpiece and one of Kirby's best tunes. — Jeff Niesel
Brent Kirby and the Shapeshifters perform with Doug McKean at 9 p.m. Friday, April 9, at the Happy Dog (5801 Detroit Ave., 216.651.9474, happydogcleveland.com).
I Resigned Myself to All
Singer-songwriter Daniel Weiss, who records as Context Quote, doesn't regularly play around town (he's busy playing guitar for local pop-rockers the Promise Hero). But he's prolific, as this 20-song release (available only through his website) proves. His crooning, upper-register vocals have emo-ish qualities, but the indie-pop tunes (think Nada Surf or Weezer) have an upbeat energy that makes them instantly likable. "The Door" features a meaty guitar riff that builds in intensity as the song progresses. Even the moody love ballad "You Like Me Much Better Now" careens with a good energy, as does "Corduroys On." There are a couple of duds among the 20 tracks here, but most of the songwriting is solid. — Niesel