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Music Review: Jack Tempchin – Jack Tempchin: Live At Tales From The Tavern

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Jack Tempchin is primarily known as a songwriter. He greatest fame came for his songs recorded by The Eagles and Glenn Frey; but other artists such as George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Kate Wolf, Tom Rush, Richie Havens, and a host of others have recorded his material.

Every once in a while he steps out of the background and issues an album of his own. On September 25, he will release his eighth album titled Jack Tempchin – Live At Tales From The Tavern. It is the latest in the Tales From The Tavern series, which records artists in intimate settings at small clubs. Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Jon Dee Graham, Chris Hillman, and Steve Forbert have all recorded for the series and now Jack Tempchin joins their ranks.

His new release is a CD/DVD combo which presents him at his simple best as he sings a number of his well known songs and combines them with some newer material. It is just his voice, guitar, and harmonica, which puts a new spin on many of the tracks as it keeps the focus on the lyrics and his skill as a songwriter.

Two of his most famous Eagles compositions highlight the album. “Peaceful Easy Feeling” was made for his laid back approach but “Already Gone” is transformed from rock to a folk interpretation. Two songs associated with Glenn Frey, “The One You Love,” and “You Belong to the City,” receives similar treatment.

I had forgotten he wrote the Johnny Rivers hit, “Slow Dancing.” Here he presents a gentle version of Rivers’ mid-tempo pop rocker. When you add in such lesser known tunes such as “Bender,” “Loneliest Piano in Town,” “Jazzbird,” and “Jesus and Mohammed,” you have a fine collection of well-crafted songs.

Tempchin’s approach is about as laid back as they come, but he is perfect for a small club setting. His patter and stories between the songs only add to the atmosphere. Live At Tales From The Tavern is a heartfelt live presentation by Jack Tempchin of some of his notable material. It is a fine way to spend an hour.

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