Emotional Treason – Doug Cash (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

The acoustic guitar, and of course the person that wields it, often gets a lot of bad press these days. It is the go-to musical weapon for every mumbling troubadour, folk-pop wannabe and indie-punk solo ranter, none of whom have done the instrument any favours. But of course, any instrument is only as good as the person wielding it and any failure to deliver is down to the artist. As they say, a bad workman blames his tools.

So, having got that off my chest, I will now say that the way that Doug Cash wields his acoustic 6-string is a breath of fresh air. No mumbling would be retro folkster, no half baked indie chancer, Doug Cash has a few secret weapons that all of those aforementioned sonic passersby don’t. His songs are upbeat and funky. They are built on groove and space. He has something to say and the lyrics are both personal and relatable. Funky, acoustic pop? Absolutely.

It is that staccato groove, that on/off strum, that acoustic swagger and sonic strut that Emotional Treason runs on which makes it so cool. And he seems to make so much happen with so few musical building blocks too. No need to cover the song in additional layers of guitar, extra textures and tones, unnecessary layers and motifs. If you have a good song then it will speak for itself. And Emotional Treason does.

It is cool and understated yet infectious and eloquent, it makes you want to kick off your shoes and have a spin around the room. Groove meets grace, pop meets roots, understatement meets perfect poise, folk meets funk. It’s a song that is based on these wonderful and unexpected trade-offs and cool juxtapositions. It is the sound of authenticity and also of a bright new future.

It is the sound of the past being revived for the present. Of basement blues gatherings blending into back street Chicago jazz clubs via the traditional folk club. It is the sound of an alternative and underground path that music took when less worthy sounds somehow took over the mainstream. It is the sound of a midnight ritual designed to re-animate the zombie corpse of the muse of music that mattered, still matters and will continue to matter, long after the current crop of indie-folk wannabes and limp voiced bards have returned to their day job. A job where their main concern is asking the customer if they want fries with that!

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