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Music Review: Mike Gordon – The Green Sparrow

Written by Fumo Verde

While Phish was on hiatus, Mike Gordon has been running strong. The Green Sparrow is Gordon’s second solo album which came out in the summer of 2008 and contains ten original songs. It finds him joined by friends like former band mate Trey Anastasio, Bill Kreutzmann from the Grateful Dead, and Chuck Leavell from the Allman Brothers Band. Backed by guitarist Scott Murawski, keyboardist Tom Cleary, drummer Todd Isler, and percussionist Craig Myers, The Green Sparrow comes off smooth with a soothing vibe and easy beat to kick back to. Gordon is fine wordsmith and knows how to put together a good album.

I was told by my buddy Abe to listen to “Andelmans’ Yard” first. It has a very Phish feel to it with its dancing bass line and the “quick note playing” guitar riffs. “I forgot my problems or so it seems/ I was able to leave them in another dream./ But I got my friends and we’re running hard/ A few feet beneath the fallen leaves in the Andelmans’ yard” A song about digging tunnels in your old neighborhood may sound quirky but it lays down the images of suburban life with houses that look all the same and nicely kept lawns and hedges. “Radar Blip” which has a funky bass line and groovy drumbeat follows it. The keyboards break in and then recede, giving this tune a trippy ‘70s vibe as a brass section fills in at certain points and gives the song a sweet big band boost.

“Further Down” has to be one of my favorites on this CD. Opening up with the drum line broken by a grand guitar strum, the song runs like a well-oiled machine. The guitar work is amazing and opens the door for the song to take off. “I’m trying to dig further down/ I’m hoping to scrape across the lip of your buried crown./ I’m finding the way you live to be unsound/ But I’m still trying to dig further down”. If radio deejays are looking for a track good enough for public airwaves, “Further Down” should be that song. “Another Door” opens the CD and it too starts with Gordon’s funky bass style. The drums drive the tune as the guitar and keyboards ramble along giving the song a “feel good” vibe.

The Green Sparrow has this vibe throughout the whole album and though Gordon makes each song different he never looses sight of what he intends to bring out in the music. For Phish fans and lovers of easy-going music, it has that sweet sound and it shows the continuous growth of Gordon’s musical talents. Those who dig this kind of hippie jive will be down with this album.

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