It is shame Jason Falkner makes records about as fast and often as Axl Rose. Rose, it is believed, has spent the last decade trying to make a timeless, classic album unparalleled in its profundity. I have no idea what is taking Falkner so long! Can You Still Feel?, his last proper solo album, was released in 1999. Since then he has appeared on other artists' albums (Paul McCartney, Beck, etc.) and in 2004 released a five-song EP, Bliss Descending. Five songs in five years! There might be peace in the Middle East by the time he releases a full-fledged follow up disc. Sadly, as is the tragic case of the Middle East, I would not hold my breath on either account.
Falkner is probably every bit the perfectionist Rose wants to be but does not make fussy-sounding records. He sings in an unmannered way with very few extraneous, annoying vocalizations. There are none of Taylor Hicks' "woos" or Michael Jackson's "shamons" (or whatever the hell he is saying) or anything of the like. Perhaps it is because Falkner finds that shit as stupid and annoying as I often do. Perhaps it is because he writes actual lyrics, the kind that do not leave gaping holes to be filled by refrains of "oh, baby" or "la la la." That might seem like no big deal to you but it is refreshing as hell to me.
Speaking of his lyrics, I like his plainspoken style. Adam Duritz wants to be Bob Dylan and it sounds like it when you read his lyrics. That is not to knock Duritz. I like some Counting Crows songs. Besides, Duritz is not the only one to have been inspired by the man on top of the mountain. I sometimes have to remind myself he is not responsible for all those who have tried and failed spectacularly to emulate him over the years. Falkner may well be a Dylan fan but his lyrics do not possess the same literary quality. That is not to say they are dumb — they are not.
Eric Clapton once marveled at the way Stevie Ray Vaughan never sounded lost when he was playing — he was an open channel and the blues just flowed through him. He never sounded like he was reaching. It sounded effortless. Falkner's lyrics feel the same way.