Midnight Souvenirs

( 2 )

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Certain records create a space where memory -- not nostalgia -- makes us long for something that's been missing. Eight years after the stellar Sleepless, Peter Wolf offers us that with Midnight Souvenirs. Few artists can make records where tautly crafted songs with solid lyrics, balanced production, and inspired performances are the only priorities. The album's musical traces go all the way back to his past as a DJ, as a member of the Hallucinations and the J. Geils Band to his solo career and the present moment in terrific voice. Wolf and collaborators (most notably writing partner Will Jennings and co-producer Kenny Brown) deliver adult rock & roll songs. The tunes are...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
Certain records create a space where memory -- not nostalgia -- makes us long for something that's been missing. Eight years after the stellar Sleepless, Peter Wolf offers us that with Midnight Souvenirs. Few artists can make records where tautly crafted songs with solid lyrics, balanced production, and inspired performances are the only priorities. The album's musical traces go all the way back to his past as a DJ, as a member of the Hallucinations and the J. Geils Band to his solo career and the present moment in terrific voice. Wolf and collaborators (most notably writing partner Will Jennings and co-producer Kenny Brown) deliver adult rock & roll songs. The tunes are direct, poignant, and confessional, buoyed by Wolf's trademark sense of humor. It engages roots rock, R&B, Americana, and yes, blues, played by an all-star band that includes guitarists Larry Campbell and Duke Levine, and the best female backing chorus in the business: Ada Dyer and Catherine Russell. There isn't a weak cut here, but there are highlights. There are three excellent duets -- none were phoned in. The first is the soul-drenched country of "Tragedy" with Shelby Lynne, (co-written by Angelo Petraglia). "Tragedy" details the failings of a man in love and his desperate unwillingness to accept that this may be the end. Lynne's a perfect foil, underscoring Wolf's pleading with pure Southern soul singing; she's empathic but defiant. It's a sad song but horns, Stax-style guitar, B-3, and a rhythm section create an infectious groove. "Green Fields of Summer" with Neko Case is inspired by a traditional melody that could have been sung by Fairport Convention. The set closer with Merle Haggard (in amazing voice here), melds the pair in a country waltz that sums up the regret that stands monolithically in the hearts of those who've failed. Wolf rocks here too: "I Don't Wanna Know," with its big ringing guitars and wailing harmonica, is a betrayal song to dance to. "Watch Her Move" is a snaky, nocturnal old-school R&B tune that shakes in modern parlance. "There's Still Time" is the album's hinge piece. Slowly beginning with acoustic and electric guitars, it gradually soars, adding a string section and a gospel-ized backing chorus. Wolf declares his self-aware protagonist's isolated way of living, the cost he's willingly paid for it, and his decision to abandon himself fearlessly to whatever he encounters because that's what actual living requires. "Thick as Thieves" is a scorching electric blues number that wouldn't sound out of place on a North Mississippi Allstars record. "Overnight Lows" is a humorous, soul morality tale where the singer wears his heart -- and faults --on his sleeve. "The Night Comes Down (For Willy DeVille)" is a big rock anthem delivered in an intimate way. Midnight Souvenirs is a terrific dark-night-of-the-soul album, but it doesn't mope. It's made for driving, dancing alone in the living room, or merely pondering your next move, while snapping your fingers, of course.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/6/2010
  • Label: Verve
  • UPC: 602527299532
  • Catalog Number: 001389602
  • Sales rank: 44,726

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Peter Wolf Primary Artist, Harmonica, Background Vocals
Ada Dyer Background Vocals
Duke Levine Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, Mandola
Marty Ballou Upright Bass
Kevin Barry Guitar, Lap Steel Guitar
Larry Campbell Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Pedal Steel Guitar
Crispin Cioe Alto Saxophone
James "D-Train" Williams Background Vocals
Babi Floyd Background Vocals
Mike Harvey Background Vocals
Shawn Pelton Drums
Marty Richards Drums
Catherine Russell Background Vocals
Antoine Silverman Violin
Kenny White Bass, Guitar, Piano, Conga, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Arno Hecht Tenor Saxophone
Anik Oulianine Cello
Kris Delmhorst Vocal Harmony
Jonathan Dinklage Violin
Anja Wood Cello
Entcho Todorov Violin
Chris Cardona Violin
Paul Bryan Bass
Technical Credits
Merle Haggard Duet
Shelby Lynne Duet
Peter Wolf Composer, Producer, Re-arranged, Drawing
Chuck Prophet Composer
Joe Blaney Engineer
Rob Eaton Engineer
Will Jennings Composer
Paul Q. Kolderie Engineer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Angelo Petraglia Composer
Charlton Pettus Engineer
Taylor Rhodes Composer
Allen Toussaint Composer
Ben Wisch Engineer
Chris Rival Engineer
Antoine Silverman String Arrangements
Kenny White Producer
Neko Case Duet
Bob Thiele Jr. Composer
Frank Olinsky Graphic Consultant
John Baruck Management
John Squicciarino Engineer
Adam Brass Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great to hear Peter Wolf Again

    Loved the first two J. Geils Band albums but thought most of the rest of them shouldn't have been made. Haven't listened to anything else by Peter Wolf. On Rolling Stone's recommendation I purchased Midnight Souvenirs and I'm glad I did. It's not vintage Wolf. To me, it's new Wolf. The songs are good. His collaborators are good. It doesn't have the drive of J. Geils, but then Wolf's not in his 20s. The music suits him. I'd definitely give this CD a try.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews