The reviews are in:
CD REVIEWS ONLINE: OCTOBER 2006
"An excellent collection of well written love songs that touch the mind as well as the heart and pump new life into an old theme"- Rob Lincoln cdreveiwsonline.com
David Kleiner has recently created a CD that focuses around the theme of love, specifically the ways of the heart. With a growing reputation as one of the Philadelphia area's most intelligent and literate songwriters, this cd is decidedly aimed to be enjoyed on an emotional as well as intellectual level. Kleiner, (not to be confused with the fine songwriter David Kleiner from Northern NJ) has been playing live in the area for the last few years, often performing sets that have specific themes. This approach has been effective not only in his live shows but very much so on this recording that is tightly held together and impeccably produced by Glenn Barratt of Morningstar Studios. The outstanding musicianship, variations in instrumentation and vocal arrangements help keep all the songs interesting and fresh. But it is Kleiner's well crafted songwriting that carries the CD from start to finish. There are no weak songs, but here are the favorites:
1) Tiny Romance- Sometimes it's the small song, the one that is least ambitious that touches the most hearts. This is a small masterpiece. A gorgeous vocal harmony adorns some of the cleverest wordplay and rhyme scheme you will ever hear. Yet it is the small attention to detail that will touch your heart...and what a melody!
2) This Human Heart- The opening track, title track and centerpiece of the CD, it is the glue that not only holds the recording together, but in its own way holds all love songs together. With at least two dozen references to love songs, old and not so old, as well as literary references, phrases and other odd connections to the word "heart," this song is a cornucopia of trivia for those that love to analyze songs and look for hidden meanings. Yet this song is no mere intellectual curiosity, it really rocks (albeit folk-rock-not heavy metal).
3) Love Will Stay- Buried towards the end of the CD, this song has an unforgettable winding Latin tinged melody that could top the charts if sung by Carlos Santana. Somebody has got to get this one to Carlos! OK, so the lyrics are a bit intellectual for Top 40- "The study of love could never be complete. The conditions of its origin, never can repeat. Onset and consummation. Fractures and alterations. Every case is so complex..." Still, has anyone ever read the lyrics to the Top 40 hit Incense & Peppermint?
4) Cape May Waltz- How can you resist a waltz with a great fiddle, especially when it's about the beautiful town of Cape May, NJ?
5) Damn This Aching Heart- Classic sounding bluesy song immediately stands out both for it's change of pace from the rest of the tunes, and a particularly strong vocal performance by Kleiner. Great harmonica too.
6) My Beloved Is Mine- Speaking of change of pace, this song is in the style of Gershwin or Cole Porter, complete with an introductory melody ("verse") that sets up the main part of the song. It also utilizes some interesting biblical references from King Solomon's Song of Songs.
I have been listening to a lot of CDs from independent artists recently, and this one stands out as one of the best in terms of musicianship, songwriting and production. I am not the only one who feels this way. This CD has received positive reviews already from a number of much more well known sources than cdreviewsonline.com--such as Sing Out Magazine. Obviously This Human Heart is getting some circulation. I think anyone who enjoys a good love song will be thrilled to get 13 different ones on this excellent CD. For more information on this artist go to davidkleiner.net.
Sing Out Magazine: Summer 2006, Angela Page
It’s no bigger than a fist, yet the size of the universe. It’s a combat zone, yet a place of comfort. It’s made of both glass and stone. On This Human Heart, David Kleiner presents such confusing contradictions of the universal muscle of romance.
Taking on a themed release is challenging, especially with one as omnipresent and worn as love. Kleiner remarks that his release covers different stations of the heart. The title cut is the first stop and presents all the contradictions above and more. After defining its mysteries, he hands it over and asks the bearer to be careful with it.
Next stop is “Hopeless Romantic” and presents the ultimate love oxymoron: a public personal. This highlight slowly reveals the details of the man looking for friendship and chemistry on page 63. Harmonies by Mary Gordon Hall and a solo cello add to the yearning of the 40-something male.
Several cuts continue with all-encompassing passions. “Baby I Burn” aches with the fever of desire. Though up-tempo, there’s a clear emptiness. The harmonica solo by Gary Green also attempts to fill the void, yet the ache remains. “Damn This Aching Heart” slinks along musically as the lyrics capture the weakness that envelops us when we are totally led by an uncontrollable yearning for someone. In spite of a doctor’s thumbs up report, the heart can render one sick.
The 13 cuts take on passengers for the agelessly repeating journeys of bitterness, aching, loss, devotion, fulfillment, and passion that embrace the realities of loving. Kleiner’s vocals have a rough quality that is intense, and with love songs, it’s all about intensity and passion.
Minor7th.com, Alan Fark
David Kleiner is one of our own. Readers of Minor 7th may recognize him as a writer who interprets music elegantly into words. Those first hearing Kleiner's music will think the exact converse. Words are magically transmuted into music, and the final message rings true to a three-word manifesto which happens to be the title of his new CD, "This Human Heart." Though Kleiner's songs on this disc are peppered with both the words "human" and "heart," to predict the sentiment of intertwining these two words in any one of his songs is as uncertain as the spectrum of all human emotion: "Made of darkness, a combat zone / made of glass, made of stone / Full of rain, full of soul / Like a wheel, with a mind of its own / It's this heart / This human heart." There is a rough-hewn strain to Kleiner's voice, which can either emote like a palpable wince over bad things gone by ("My lover says it's all just dust and dreams / From where I stand, that isn't how it seems / we hurt so that we can learn what we are when hurt departs") or a yearning for things just out of his passionate grasp ("Now I'm in the dark and I know what to do with a candle, a match, and a picture of you / Ashes to ashes, combustible heart / Touch off a fire in this tinderbox"). Kleiner, as David Wilcox is known to do, assimilates _ time into his own signature "folk-waltz" sound on "Cape May Waltz," "Tiny Romance," and "Hopeless Romantic." By surrounding himself with stylistic sidemen like Gary Green on harmonica and Curt Johnston on dobro, certain of the songs on "This Human Heart" forge into alt-country sound á la The Band or J.D. Souther, such as on "Right About the Rain." David Kleiner truly is one of our own... a writer, a musician, but most fitting... human.