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Monday, Aug. 3, 2009

Paleface

The Show Is on the Road (Ramseur Records)

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The Show Is on the Road serves as a love letter to both the longtime New York City home of anti-folk pioneer Paleface and his new dwelling space in Concord, N.C., where he sought refuge after nearly dying from alcohol abuse. In a voice both raw and intimate, with accompaniment only from an acoustic guitar and occasional percussion, banjo and harmonica, Paleface sounds as if he's actually putting his life back together in the studio-recording his own survival, if you will.

On "Pondering the Night Sky," for example, Paleface marvels at something as simple as gazing at a star-filled Southern sky. He may have been an early influence on Beck, but you also can hear bits of Beck in these 11 tracks. The best songs, however, happen to be the ones Paleface shares with his sweet-voiced girlfriend, singer/drummer Monica "Mo" Samalot. She adds sunny harmonies to "Raise the Glass" and shines on the upbeat call-and-response ditty "Holy Holy," in which Paleface implores listeners to "give me somethin' better."