Monday, September 19, 2011

REVIEW-- "Outlet" -- by P.J. Pacifico-- 21st-Century Troubadour!

P.J. Pacifico is a 21st-century troubadour... He makes music of words uttering true devotion to Lady Fair, and to his calling to proclaim his love for her throughout the land. His craft is shaped by this devotion, brought to a finely tuned aesthetic point, with intensity and verve derived from such devotion.

So we hold P.J.'s newest album, "Outlet," with a certain awe for a job superbly done. Here we behold P.J.'s 'message to the world,' the 'outlet' of passion and heartache and moral comment which derive from be-love to his wife Sheila, for whom both 'came home' after the 'Hurricane Floyd' of tumult leading to marriage.

In almost every song here, P.J. alludes to this love as the guiding star of his life, a constellation True North around which he governs all his existential concerns. Perhaps no greater expression of this devotion on the album is found in P.J.'s cut "Waiting" midway through the album. Here P.J. at Sheila's behest wrote/sang of their prime friendship, a friendship in which both are remaining true to one another in bonded union. "I'm ready for the summer too, it's so easy to agree with you...What is this before us? Our friends already adore us!" P.J. announces to Lady Fair, evidently with rave result.

P.J. told me that his wife makes a good spouse for a performing and composing artist, as Sheila never complains or questions the hard-driven schedule in the circuit of shows P.J. makes across the United States on a horrifically frenetic pace. As he indicates in his song "As Soon as I Can," he keeps frequent telephone contact with Lady Fair on the road, for conveying 'thank you' and other 'sound checks' to keep the union close, intense, happy.

Indeed the 'road' and its 'roadbumps' figure in many of P.J.'s songs in "Outlet." He intones frustrating circumstances riding tensely on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago after being betrayed by a friend whom he hoped would heed sound advice; he sings of being in the Bluebird Café in Nashville overhearing the lament of a lovelorn man in "Ships in the Night," and invokes the road-stress of keeping a tender relationship with a woman in "Where I Can Be," going with the proviso "You can start again with me...Welcome to Tennessee...After half a million miles I feel a little wild!" In "Targets," P.J. also sings of inappropriate venues (bars) for his performance; he told me that he from henceforth will stick to coffeehouse venues for delivery of his lyric messages.

By way of illustration, I can report that in the troubadour tradition he follows after Hank Williams and Paul Simon, P.J. finds himself composing many new songs while on the circuit between shows, using his cellphone to record new snatches of song while making it to the next show in his car. The joy comes consummately for this driven life when he returns to Sheila, as he says in "As Soon As I Can," "Honey I've been driving seven hours, just let me shower, and I'll hold you as long as I can."

This hard work is beginning to bring huge rewards. P.J. Pacifico is now a luminary in the world of 21st century folk music, with a steady contract with Sirius satellite radio, a presence in places like Barnes & Noble bookstores and international airports via Muzak, and of course the immense and devoted following of fans and friends he has made on the performance-circuit.

P.J.-- Troubadour-- your love and your life bring love and life through the creations that derive from your cleanly-lived values! Hold to this devotion and from its unity will continue to come a great lyric gift to our troubled world!

--Vernon Lynn Stephens

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