Canvas and Color is a recent release by Cory Coffman. It’s an eight-song release that’s about 35 minutes long. There are a number of different styles so let’s get into it.
The first song which is the title track seems to be an homage to ’50s pop. There isn’t so much distinction on the chorus because there is a little bit of distortion but for the most part the lyrics, vibe and really just about everything seemed to come from that era. It sounds great and is well written and delivered.
Up next is “Tango til They’re Sore” and was a direction I was not expecting. I’ve been a Tom Waits fan for about twenty-five years. He’s got a very distinct singular sound and the music could have been from Waits. The obvious baritone was missing but I would be very surprised if this wasn’t directly inspired by Waits.
“Mother Earth” is next and is another change in aesthetics and vibe. This was a contemporary blues and rock hybrid. It sounded like a subdued song from The Black Keys. “Marigolds on Monday” is Coffman's attempt at an intimate ballad in the spirit of Sufjan Stevens and it even has a similar cadence. The track builds with elements and ends up being one of the highlights on the release.
“Weeping Willow” is another ballad and is seeped in melancholy and reflection. I would say no one specific artist didn’t come to mind like on the other songs. The mood brightens with levity on “Raspberry Seeds” which is a happy go lucky type of song similar to the title track but less drenched in ’50s pop. He goes deeper into the happy go lucky vibe which is playful on “I’ve Been Thinkin’.” Last up is “Midnight Callin’” which is stripped down that feels more pop oriented.
This album was so varied in mood, style and approach it was difficult to feel the signature sound or essence of the artist which is often the case with debut releases from solo artists. It felt more like a compilation of songs instead of a release that weaves a singular aesthetic X-factor into each song. Whether or not you think that is a good or bad thing is certainly up for debate but I think building more of a foundation on the next release might be food for thought.
I had some preferences in terms of the songs but overall I thought the songwriting and delivery was top notch. The songs whether they were chipper, somber or specific to a genre or artist all felt heartfelt, tender and warm.
Overall, I thought this was a solid debut and look forward to where Coffman goes from here.
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