"Sean Garvey's "California Parable” is an auspicious debut, with steel guitar chords buoying Garvey’s pensive songs of survival in Northern California. New-century Westerners, at odds with past and future alike, stalk through his lyrics with their collars pulled up and their hats tugged down: “Keep the hurt and your chin tucked,” Garvey admonishes in “Youngblood,” with the chorus “We’re gonna shake and ache all night long” sounding almost like a lullaby.The title song blends a haunting melody with stark images of whitewashed motels and a neon Jesus “shining down like the barrel of a gun.” In “Small Town Graffiti,” the protagonist thinks about freeing himself from the creeping blight of his declining neighborhood – but will he? Brighter moments surface in “Layback Woman,” with its sunny accordion and lazy beat; but Garvey’s territory is more cracked earth and diesel oil than unmade bed.
In all, there are 10 songs on “California Parable,” and each one rewards repeated listening. Garvey’s homegrown take on the American Dream and its discontents is well worth your time if you enjoy rootsy, topical songwriting delivered without the distracting overproduction that spoils so many promising debuts."
(Louisa Hufstader, The Napa Register, 2/08)