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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Steve Wynn

Crossing Dragon Bridge (Blue Rose Records)

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  The title of Crossing Dragon Bridge was inspired by the landmark that Steve Wynn regularly traversed during a recent three-week stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia, where the founder of ’80s alternative-rock pioneers The Dream Syndicate recorded his first solo album since 2001.

  Most of these 13 songs, initially stripped down to just Wynn and his acoustic guitar, were later enhanced with instrumentation by Wynn and Chris Eckman of the Walkabouts. Yet the music doesn’t sound sparse, thanks to a female vocalist and an eight-piece orchestra that lushly round out tracks such as “Manhattan Fault Line” and “When We Talk About Forever.” Elsewhere, “Annie & Me” is a catchy, fast-paced acoustic ditty, and “Bring the Magic” recaptures the edge of earlier material.

  Wynn has bounced around different record labels throughout his career, and Crossing Dragon Bridge is (easily) available as a German import. But this disc, unlike any Wynn has previously recorded, deserves a well-promoted domestic release.