RANDY KAPLAN with BRIAN SCHEY - DURANGO
"Singer-songwriter Kaplan has a husky, wispy sort of voice that curls up and sits on a nearby sofa. Remember Paul Williams’ best songs?"
-MOJO, UK (Durango is a Top 10 pick in the March '09 issue)
Randy Kaplan’s songs are a blend of American Roots, Jazz, Alternative, and Pop. He intricately finger-picks and strums his way through unpredictable live shows which, in addition to his original compositions, include Tin Pan Alley gems, Broadway numbers, and Delta Blues songs. He is as indebted to Eric Rohmer, John Ashbery, and Charles Bukowski as he is to Cole Porter, Woody Guthrie, and Dave Van Ronk.
Brian Schey is an accomplished composer, arranger, and producer. He has also toured the US and Europe as a bassist with, among others, Dan Bern and Great American Taxi. Randy and Brian have worked together in many styles, from rock to jazz to musical theater. They recently collaborated on CLEAVE, a musical comedy which played at the Boulder International Fringe Festival.
“Kaplan is a national treasure.”
-THE BROOKLYN PAPER
DURANGO features eleven songs co-written by Kaplan and Schey over the past two decades. There are piano-based pop songs, skewed rock anthems, Mexican surf numbers, and cabaret-influenced ballads. Mike West of Truckstop Honeymoon produced the record, deftly unifying its variety of genres.
Reviews of Durango as they roll in:
"Superb, comfortingly un-hurried jazz-tinged Americana / Mexicana where friendly Steve Forbert-esque vocals and Joe Ely-ish attitude sit perfectly in classic songs that the great Hoagy Carmichael would have been proud to claim as his own. The title track is a wistful lazy delight, expressing desire to up and leave for the wide open spaces - "Oh the city night's not dark, like Durango". And dear old Plonk Lane (Small Faces / Faces - God bless him) would have truly loved Marianne, its mandolin and its chopping-across-the chords guitar. Tucumcari, a muy loco, comical 300-mph US-Mexican border adventure with mariachi accordion and wide-screen movie Dick Dale / Ventures / Shadows electric guitar, leaves you begging for the next chapter. Reason to Be Here features classic Byrds pop guitar, beguiling descending bass lines, True At The Time is quietly hilarious and it takes a couple of quiet listens before the pervy tale of What Is That Noise? unveils itself. The whole album, musicianship and production is absolutely real (as in, not processed or manufactured, with no computer in sight) with art-work and presentation that are way cool. I'll be playing this for a long, long time - you should too. Kaplan and Schey - muchos gracias, hombres!"
-Peter Innes / AllGigs.co.uk
"(Durango is a) subtle, warm, well crafted set of songs. Randy Kaplan has a dual personality as a performer of kids’ songs (with none of the usual schmaltz) and a writer of well crafted songs released on several albums over the years. This album has his adult hat on and is a collection of songs he has written with Brian Schey over the past two decades. Ranging from supper club jazz, Broadway like tunes and some very tasty Americana friendly songs this is like a finger buffet, lots of choice... There’s no doubting Kaplan’s talent. Intelligent songwriting will out... The meat here is in a brace of songs in the middle of the album. “What is that Noise?” is a beautiful love song of sorts that begs plenty of questions as to where and what has happened. Nicely picked with some great Hammond organ you just want to listen to this over and over. “Leftovers” sounds like a great long lost Steve Forbert song but better than anything Forbert has written for some time. “You Never Know Why” alternatively growls and skips and at times is reminiscent of Dylan’s 4th Time Around."
-Paul Kerr / AMERICANA-UK.com
"(Durango is) a wonderfully infectious album rammed with beautifully crafted songs, each as individual as the next but all coming together to form a glorious aural montage for the senses. Kaplan's wonderfully throaty, dusky voice and whispery delivery are augmented by some pretty majestic sounding 'scores'; somewhat reminiscent of a subtle Tom Waits, Kaplan and Schey sure make a joyous sound. 'Durango' is a lovely chilled album that begs to be listened to in depth and with respect just to be able to pick up on all its subtleties and underlying nuances... Tripping lightly and easily through folk, country and light rock, 'Durango' offers something for most tastes; un-pigeonholeable and genre defying it's a wonderfully laid back and compelling album of the highest order! I'm actually stumped for words to describe this work; 'Durango' by Randy Kaplan with Brian Schey is the absolute mutt's nuts, I don't think my meagre words could ever do it full justice, it's just one of those albums that you have to hear for yourself to be able to make your mind up. Just about as good as it gets, 'Durango' by Randy Kaplan with Brian Schey is world class!! Pure brilliance! Absolute heaven!! 'Nuff said!!"
-Peter J. Brown / ToxicPete.co.uk