Ken Stringfellow’s follow-up to 2001’s Touched, bears the mark of consistent movement. A glance at the CD booklet notes reveals the various geographies Stringfellow’s schedule has found him in: The songs were written and recorded in Seattle, New York, Hollywood, Vancouver, Athens, Sweden and Paris. No surprise, then, that the record feels more like a travelogue than a full-fledged studio composition.
The ambience of this travel also shows in the album’s versatility. Stringfellow bounces from Harry Nilsson’s hooky eccentricity to John Lennon’s basic piano delivery to Brian Wilson’s catchy sentimentality, all while being his purely eclectic self.
A perpetual romantic, Stringfellow barely strays from love and loss in his songwriting, and this record is no exception. “When U Find Someone” is blessed with a gushy chorus on par with any Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys tune, complete with “aaah-oooh” harmony vocals. On “Je Vous En Prie”, he pines for his French wife at the piano, and “Let Me Do” recall classic ‘70s singer-songwriter soul a la Timothy B. Schmidt.
Heavier on piano-driven ballads than Touched, this record is solid and mature, suggesting Stringfellow’s comfort with both his solo voice and the transitions in his life. It’s also evidence of the rare case in which an artist wears his influences but still sounds inimitable.