From the start of the strumming, Neil Cribbs grabs hold and moves you to relaxation, to take stock of the journey inside of a single day. There exists a storyteller quality to Cribbs’ voice which lends itself well to the tone of voice accompanying American soul songs. His songwriting is a solid stew of elements including inspirations drawn from Tom Petty’s chord progressions and Bob Dylan’s bluesy style of harmonica and folk tales.
What captures the attention in the songs on Marionette is the spirit of feeling which drives through each track and gets inside the listener. When I first heard the songs, I was hooked. Incredibly busy, but instantly hooked by the solid rhythms and heartfelt lines, unable to break away.
The harp solos reflect back on the lyrics, dynamically building the pressure from the chord strumming and straining vocals. The line, “Well, there’s a banjo playing and there’s dancing in the air and the rock and roll singer can find his roots out there,” in the second track, “Don’t Forget the Mountains,” captures succinctly the mix of Americana and blues stylishly told in the tradition of song. With tracks this easy to connect with and understand, Neil Cribbs is destined to find solace in small towns and fun loving audiences.
Much like watching the landscapes as a train rolls across the open country from coast to coast, Neil Cribbs’ songs will float in between silences and provide the soundtrack to a constantly evolving and changing scene, musically as well as environmentally. Marionette is the type of album to listen to when you need a voice to call forth the deep seated and often times haunting connections to individuals. These are songs that bring back memories, no matter quite who you are or from where you’ve come.
Ellen Eldridge, Indie Contributor
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