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Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013

Gary Tanin

Love Changes (Daystorm)

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Love Changes was 40 years in the making, in a manner of speaking. In 1972 Gary Tanin, a young Milwaukee songwriter, released an LP of hopeful melancholy called Love Changes All. It was naked, just voice and piano, but was a step toward a career of ever more technological music making, including Internet collaborations before most musicians had heard of uploading files. In 1995-1996, in a move to return to basics, Tanin says he "went back to where I started—huddled down at my piano and focused on what I was feeling." He documented those songs on a four-track cassette recorder, just voice and piano plus minimal overdubs. At the end of 2012 he finally mastered the tracks and released them on CD as Love Changes.

Listening to those demos from the mid-’90s, Tanin discovered that the songs "worked together as a group" and their lyrics answered the sentiments on Love Changes All. "It was like an older guy years later looking at the same subject through a different lens," he says. Bright optimism has faded into gray reality, and weariness and regret are the prevailing emotions. Much of the music carries the DNA of late-period Beatles, although the standout number, "Heart of Stone," moves in somber cadences Leonard Cohen could understand.