by: Craig Dubecki
Life can bring upon decisions such as whether to be a lawyer or a singer/songwriter? Do I make the big bucks wearing a suit everyday and schmooze with the big corporate boys like Tom Cruise did in The Firm? Or, do I follow my heart, entertain people with my piano by playing songs I wrote from my heart, and get to schmooze with people such as Perez Hilton and Chantal Kreviazuk? Darrelle London had that exact choice and chose the latter.
This past Good Friday I was coming back from Whitby, Ontario. I was in a really bad funk emotionally. It was nighttime and I had a 90-minute drive ahead of me. I stuck her latest album, Eat A Peach, into my SUV sound system and was swept away to a different place, a much happier place.
I’m new to listening to Darrelle so cannot make any comparisons to her previous work, although after listening to Eat A Peach, I will certainly backtrack through her discography. I am also not much into pop being a blues/rock guitarist, however, Darrelle taught me something with this album.
Before the music started my mind went back to the Allman Brothers’ 1971 album entitled Eat The Peach, the one mistakenly thought of to be written about Duane Allman’s death from possibly crashing into a peach truck. I wondered if Darrelle knew this and how different her music would be. It would be much different. It’s an honest and bold recollection of real life events that we all experience at one time or another.
Right from the first song ‘First Date’, I was chuckling as I drove along. The adjectives adorable, cute, precious all came to mind. That gut reaction was based on the music, which was so uplifting! It had me wanting to get up and dance or frolic through a flower garden. Then the words came and with that a step back due to the warm surprise I was hit with. “This is a song I could have written,” I thought. ‘First Date’ is a bold and honest recount of what many of us (I sadly assume) have been through: a huge letdown from big expectations when on a first date. I laughed as Darrelle sang the line, “and then you kiss me, so this one’s for you…you arrogant fool!” This is a wonderful example of how a sad situation can be made light-hearted and healing.
‘Forgot My Words’ carries that same general theme of music pushing me to dance yet heartfelt emotions being released. Darrelle’s piano is perfect for this style of song. It’s bubbly and the mix of hand clapping makes it fun. I’ve been there. When on stage playing guitar and my ex-partner is in the audience with someone new and, well, I forgot my words.
Collaborating with Chantal Kreviazuk on back-up vocals, ‘Ceila’ is another wonderfully lighthearted song about the confusion both lust and love can put us through, as noted with the lines, “He pulls you in, pushes you out. Turns your whole life upside down.” The music is superbly arranged start to finish with the cello making a significant contribution.
Number four is ‘RV Song’. Darrelle proves that you can take any subject and make a catchy tune out of it. Adding a violin to the mix, ‘RV Song’ talks about getting away from it all. Getting away from materialism including high-end clothing and sparkly accessories. Escaping to the roads and the water. It’s about dreaming.
I love ‘Too Good’! “Doo, doo, doo. I’m too good for you.” Great line! Darrelle takes a huge stand here by singing about what so many of us feel when in a relationship but are afraid to admit…or believe. When you watch your partner become obsessed with his or her own looks and affairs, and you become secondary, you know you are too good for them! Adding a banjo and harmonica to the mix, ‘Too Good’ is musically, as all of them are, very upbeat with a very catchy chorus!
‘Fine’ and ‘Good Good Good’ continue the music diversity. These are two very powerful songs about believing in our inner-strength. We’ve all been knocked down, disappointed, let down. Darrelle’s not afraid at all here to reassure us with these two “pumping up” songs.
With only piano and cello, ‘You Don’t Have To’ sweeps us to a higher level of reassurance. Slowing the tempo down with Darrelle giving us some splendidly soulful piano while the cello sets a melodic backing, we hear about her independence and strength. She sings about the inner battle between having someone who is always there for you through thick and thin yet she wants it made known that she’s okay without the constant support. The cute and very endearing part, as with all her songs, comes in when she slips in the line, “But I like it when you do.”
‘Through The Day’ has most of an orchestra ensemble involved including a tuba, clarinet, trumpet and trombone. I must say that to this point I am totally impressed with Darrelle London’s creativity and imagination. She makes it all work and ‘Through The Day’, albeit very short, had me skipping away in my mind whilst driving on the highway, sending all my personal troubles far away. True to many love affairs, the line, “I might not say I love you, that doesn’t mean I don’t” might be better said from a male’s perspective (smiles).
‘Peach’ starts off with a beautiful piano intro that follows with some of Darrelle’s deepest thoughts. The violin and cello add to the very contemplative mood I feel she is trying to set and it works to perfection. Playing psychologist, ‘Peach’ talks about the trials and tribulations that life brings; the struggles and tears. But you know what? Shit happens and we have to just keep taking chances because before you know it, life’s over! I’m laying it on heavy but Darrelle doesn’t. She still maintains that light, playful feel even when talking about the heavy crap.
Ah, finally the guitar makes an appearance! Quite frankly, this album has been so enjoyable; I never noticed its absence. ‘Spaghetti’ is such a cute song about reflections; what we’ve done, what we’ve experienced. It shares the painful honesty of admitting that those times were special but it wasn’t always realized by both halves. ‘Understand’ brings us full circle with the spirit of ‘First Date’. It talks about the confusion versus the desire of becoming a couple. I want you! But I’m kind of scared! Can you please understand because I like you?
Eat A Peach is a wonderfully put together album. I can feel Darrelle London’s charisma shouting out loud. She has an uncanny way of taking a possibly corny subject and turning it into a delightfully fun song. She shares her heart and her experiences and is able to maintain a very real, human connection with the listener.
The album brilliantly combines high-energy music with her delightful songwriting. I have a feeling that many of the song themes I suggested are actually metaphors for what has happened in her life, such as the decision of law versus music. I’m glad you chose music, Darrelle! The product of this choice is Eat A Peach. A sound and very professional album that you will likely play over and over.