Bedouin is composed of approximately eleven players who come together in shifting combinations, with singer/guitarist/songwriter Stewart Erlich at its nexus. Recently transplanted to the Front Range from New York, Erlich is striking out on his own after completing Book of Storms, an engaging, promising outing that showcases his stylistic versatility and songwriting skill. The record bounces from complexly arranged vocal jazz numbers and sad acoustic songs of longing to jam-band wanderfests. Erlich's smooth voice and slinky guitar lines are highlighted throughout, as on the shuffling, jazzy title song: "There's a big storm brewing past the treeline/And a strong wind forcing in the tide...."
Bedouin was an amalgam of several different bands with whom Erlich played with in NYC, and the stylistic changes from song to song are at times jolting; you almost wish he could have just picked one path and explored it fully throughout the disc. But ultimately, the album showcases an artist with great potential who shows deftness and flexibility in his varying voices. Whichever one he picks will be well worth listening to.
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