Closer Away is the third release from Dino Soldo (known for his multi-instrumental skills with Lionel Richie, Leonard Cohen and others) . The idea for this project was mostly conceived and created in one month on the road during his tour work with songwriter Leonard Cohen. 21st century relationships are the theme of "Closer Away". All angles are covered; new romance, staying together, leaving, being left, experiencing or creating change (for the better or the worse), desire, being alone - no rock is left un-kicked. Though known as a do-everything sideman and songwriter, this is Dino's strongest vocal performance to date.
A dedication is made to late musician Chris Whitley and his presence can be found on many tracks, not only with Dino's National guitar, but by lyrical choice and direction. One can clearly feel the subtle guidance of wordsmith Cohen as well.
His signature beds of woodwinds are placed over most tracks once again but this time violinist Christine Wu adds herself to the stack, creating a two man orchestra on counterpoint to the groove- All done with just the right amount of Clever for this quirky Pop statement. Drummer Raphael Goyol appears on "don't release me" as well.
Fans of his improvisation are not to be disappointed. He gives himself ample time to stretch and explore with his tenor ("Like Ice-nine, Slip Away, no wonder"), and Stevie-like chromatic harmonica ("better than nothing, see you in the dream") and other toys.
As a break from the theme, R&B icon Chuckii Booker makes a vocal appearance on "no wonder"; a compulsory stab at the state of Radio today felt by most independent artists, but instead of angst, Dino makes this accusation with sonic pratfall humor. Dino's idol, Buster Keaton, can be traced as well by his use of hi-tech manipulation (he is a master of the Electric Woodwind Instrument) to achieve fresh effects, all the while in keeping with his organic sound.
His last two songs complete his statement about love, or this time, the absence of it. "ballad of the good man" is a stark song about late night loneliness. One voice- one guitar. His deepest and most subtle performance to date. And "starting to think" (his nod to the poet Arthur Rimbaud); just as simple and exposed, but on the other side of the emotional spectrum.
Outstanding tracks are "Like Ice-nine", "don't release me", "no wonder", and "ballad of a good man".