Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Justin Levinson - Predetermined Fate (2009)

While singer-songwriter Justin Levinson, a Burlington, Vermont native, is not a household name he has started to generate some heat in New England and beyond. Levinson has won songwriting awards from Boston's famed Berklee College of Music as well as the award for Best New Male Artist of 2007 from the International Acoustic Music Awards. Predetermined Fate, his third CD of original material, shows us why.

Levinson's latest disc falls firmly into the country-rock genre and makes full usage of harmonicas, steel guitars, and fiddles along with the usual piano, electric rock guitar, and drums. His voice fits the material well and his arrangements are always mainstream yet eclectic. He writes intelligent lyrics without getting obscure so his eleven tunes are all highly accessible. Many of his self-written songs discuss the serious side of life and love. However, his often brisk arrangements prevent them from wallowing too deep in the quicksand of self pity that so many of his peers become mired in with predictable regularity.

Predetermined Fate is front loaded with the CD's best songs. "Everything's About You," the lyrically great "Bandaid On A Bullet Wound," "Hopelessness," and "Losing You To Tennessee" are the highlights of this thirty-seven minute disc that is concise enough not to wear out its welcome.

Kudos to Levinson who proves once again that fame and talent often do not meet at the musical fork in the road.

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