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Music Review - 'Still Life' Dave Greaves (dm)

Dave Greaves - Still Life

22 May 2020



One of the riches of the world is the abundance of moving, thoughtful, and evocative music. The challenge, given the variety of musical craftsmanship and the deluge of content, is that of discovery – How does one find music that should thrive, and tune out the songs that function as little more than noises in the cacophony of modernity?

Countless songwriters labor under the test of obscurity, admirably enhancing their artistry without fanfare or fortune.

Dave Greaves is one of those songwriters, and his new comprehensive collection of material, Still Life, aims to attract an audience worthy of his skill, intimate intelligence, and graceful touch when reaching into his archive of memories to find suitable inspiration for song.

Still Life assembles 22 songs over two discs, and as a consequence, suffers the detriments common among double albums. The stronger material has to compete for center stage with too many compositions, making the sheer volume more a liability than asset. Still Life would benefit from a tighter focus, and sparser sequence, especially given that many of Greaves’ songs closely resemble each other in sound and subject.

Despite the need for more disciplined curation, Still Life bequeaths many gifts and pleasures to its listeners. Greaves’ English-Folk style, which he imports from his coastal home of Scarborough, England, is a poignant and striking complement to the thoughtful confessions and recollections of his lyrics.

Greaves’ vocal and acoustic guitar dominate the aesthetic delivery of his material, but the effectual ornamentation of additional instruments often provide necessary color and texture. The saxophone on songs like “Rising Tide” and “I Love Ya Babe” evokes the subtlety and soul of Van Morrison’s brass accompaniment. Tender and faint backup vocals add necessary and helpful diversity to the dialogic articulation of Greaves’ understated singing.

The most resonant quality of Greaves’ music is their emotional intensity, but to access the depth of Greaves’ feeling one has to listen closely. His songs are quiet, requiring attention and focus from the listener, while promising entrance into a breathless exploration of life at the emotional edges – from falling in love to losing family and friends.


The length of Greaves’ release demonstrates an adeptness at writing, and offers insight into the depth of his catalogue. He is a songwriter worthy of attention and acclaim, and as the subtitle of his record would suggest, already constructing a legacy worthy of pride.


 David Masciotra



David Masciotra ( is the author of four books, including Barack Obama: Invisible Man (Eyewear Publishing, 2017) and Mellencamp: American Troubadour (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

To read all of David's reviews, click here 

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