Okay. This is a tough one to write. This is a fantastic CD; however, I think it's a CD with a problem. The problem is the song touted as being the highlight of the CD, “New Orleans Waltz.”
It would be too easy to get political about the song. That would be wrong because it would detract from the other 11 songs, which range from very good (grade of B) to phenomenal (A+). So for this review, I will step onto my soapbox regarding my problems with “New Orleans Waltz” and be done with it. You can deal with it as you wish.
Begin soapbox. First, in general, musicians cannot do political songs that target individuals with any credibility. They come off as attacks; trite and politically self-serving.
In “New Orleans Waltz,” the first verse says “Let's not complain about Mayor Ray Nagin/I think that he's done the best that he could/I just wish that people would stop pointing fingers.” In the next verse Grayson begins pointing fingers with the lines “George Bush, George Bush you're a lying hypocrite.” Is that not the definition of hypocrisy?
Believe me, there is plenty of blame to go around, and I do not want to debate right or wrong. I am focusing on the quality of the song. After listening to the rest of the CD, I am positive Grayson could have conveyed the same message with much more power without pandering if he had used his poetic talents.
I have no problem with Grayson's opinions or his political philosophy. My biggest problem with the song is I think he sold himself short of his ability to write a high quality protest song. Imagine instead the words of Neil Young's "Ohio." Instead of “Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming," suppose he had written something like “The students are right and Nixon's a murderer.” Do you really think it would be played on radio stations 30 years later? I do not think “New Orleans Waltz” is good for much other than what it is — a political slam. That, to me, does not make for a good song. End soapbox.