Chasing Down a Spark

Pittsburgh's own Bill Deasy, frontman for '90s band The Gathering
Field, has been releasing his own solo albums in recent years. The
follow-up to 2003's well-received Good Day, No Rain is another
collection of terrific choruses and uplifting lyrics.

The new CD is produced by Kevin Salem, a singer/songwriter who emerged
out of Boston to become recently an in-demand producer and session
player for many indie-minded artists. Over the years, Salem has worked
with indie rock bands Dumptruck and Madder Rose, as well as
singer/songwriters Freedy Johnston, Matt Keating, and (more recently)
Rachael Yamagata.

The album's lead-off tune is "Until I Get It Right," a hopeful song
about perseverance in the face of troubles. "Down this road might find
anything, rocks or gold," sings Deasy, over a backing track that falls
somewhere between alt-country and jangle-pop. The song, with its
gently soaring chorus and diamond-in-the-rough lyrics, sets the tone
for the rest of the album.

The song "Levi" is an almost film-noir-ish pastiche set in New York
City, featuring lines like, "She greeted me sadly then asked me my
game/A five-dollar whore with a ten-dollar name." Both "Fireflies" and
"Now That I Know What It Means" are engaging songs about trying to
make a go at love, and "Pale" is about after a relationship heads
south.

The CD features a number of familiar names. The Clarks' Rob James is
one of the band members throughout the album. Scott Blasey and Donnie
Iris also pop in to contribute backing vocals on one song each.
Non-Burgh friends on the disc include Maia Sharp, who adds some
harmonies on four songs, and Chicago singer/songwriter Rachael
Yamagata does so on two tracks.

Chasing Down a Spark is a dozen rootsy songs which continues the
evolution of a fine Pittsburgh songwriter. Well-crafted songs, giant
choruses, rock guitars, and whole ton of talent. What more can you ask
for?

Mike Sauter, WYEP Music Director