Romano Paoletti opens Story of a Lifetime with "Ragtime Blues," an ode to his grandfather, "Ragtime" Bob Darch, an inductee of the Ragtime Hall of Fame. It's a measure not only of Paoletti's dedication to family and tradition, but of the album's commitment to live up to its title. Across these ten songs, Paoletti uses his formidable yet seemingly effortless abilities as a singer-songwriter to spin a shaggy-dog story that encompasses his life and the lives of those he loves, as well as the span of American music as a whole. Folk, honky-tonk, classic country, and rock and roll all dissolve into Lifetime's hearty stew, in which Paoletti's guitar rings like a dinner bell and his soulful, homespun vocals come as natural as breathing. Slide guitar, mandolin and fiddle embellish the disc, but at their heart rests Paoletti's warm, sure songs — a string of piercing vignettes from a songsmith who clearly knows that the upside of tradition and nostalgia is the celebration of how far you've come.
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May 20, 2010 | 4:00am|