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Music Review: Professor and Maryann – Lead Us Not Into Penn Station

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Some days, when you’ve had a royally crappy day, you come home and all you want to do is argue with the wife, kick the dog, then be alone. So you go off by yourself, since by this point neither the wife nor the dog will even venture a peek at you, roll yourself a cocktail and put some music on. I can give no higher recommendation than for you to put this disc on. I guarantee this music will put your head straight, and you won’t need to inhale.

This CD has got to be one of the most peaceful, perfect CDs for just kicking back and vegetating that I’ve heard. It doesn’t have to be, but right at this moment, it is. Funny, though, after you’ve sat and listened for a while, you’re calm, or at least calmer, and the music takes on a whole new life.

The music itself is still working its magic, filtering into your ear, pushing the bad day’s remnants out your other ear, leaving behind that breathy, dreamy voice, that soothing, masterfully played guitar, and calming the savage beast within. But the lyrics are now a little thought-provoking, though still soothing. Which is perfectly OK, now that you’re no longer frothing at the mouth. You begin to pay closer attention. Was that the ghost of a trace of a smile that flashed across your face?

By the third or fourth selection, you find yourself at the kitchen cabinet, getting a treat for the dog, who’s hiding under the table, not sure whether she should take the treat when offered. Then you tap gently on the bedroom door and slowly open it, waving a white flag and hoping the wife didn’t take the cutlery drawer into the bedroom with her, with dreams of Bobbitting you dancing through her head.

An hour later, both the ladies of the house are satisfied, but by now, you’ve missed the rest of the CD. So you put it on again, and all three of you sit quietly and listen. Even the dog is smiling.

I first heard this duo on a local radio show called “Messy Radio,” which takes its name after the station call letters, WMSE. I’ve been listening to the station for eight years, with a break of a couple years when I lived in NYC, and Pete Rohde is the only one I’ve heard play “Electric Lights,” which is on another disc by the Professor and Maryann. That was it, I was hooked.

This disc is equally good, and, like the other, torchy, sexy, sad and funny at times, and always serenity-inducing. It’s also indescribable in style or genre. It’s a little o’ dis, a little o’ dat — jazzy, bluesy, folky, and a few other “-ys” — while satisfying to even the most jaded listener.

As far as I know, the only place you can see them live is in New York. Check their website for details.

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About Lou Novacheck