Reviews: Blissville

SONGLIST: 40 Days of Rain / Wild and Precious Thing / Crazy Little Town / Secret Anniversaries / Driving to Blissville / Lie to Me / The Hard Part’s Letting Go / Midnight Flight / Washington Island / A Soldier’s Christmas / Message in a Bottle / Take a Drive With Me / Ophelia

“Best of” List for 2004 — AltCountry.NL
Top 5 Singer-Songwriter Releases for 2004 — Ctrl.Alt.Country

No. 1 Real Roots Cafe Ultimate Collection, September 2004

No. 2 EuroAmericana Chart, September 2004

No. 9 Americana & Roots Top 13 (The Netherlands), October 2004

“Blissville is a testament to the songwriter’s craft, poignant but never pedantic, sentimental without being mawkish, personal yet never oblique…This album is what you’d get if you combined the grittiness of Townes Van Zandt, the soul-searching of Richard Shindell, and the humanity of John McCutcheon, then seasoned it ever so slightly with John Prine-like wry commentary”
The Hartford Advocate – July 2006

“[Talmadge] offers vivid, insightful, and clearly drawn characters with distinct, individual voices: a lover learning to let go, another learning to find love, a man musing on chances taken and those overlooked, a dry dirt farmer considering his lot, and a soldier deep in Christmastime reflection…. Talmadge brings his characters to life with a sense of presence and place…. Outstanding tracks include 40 Days of Rain, The Hard Part’s Letting Go,and Midnight Flight.”
[FolkWax Rating: 8 out of 10].
Folkwax – July 2006

“The gritty, country folk of Jeff Talmadge falls somewhere between Steve Earle and Waylon Jennings ….[He] captivates with his attention to lyrical detail and steady rhythms. The album’s crown jewel is the poignant “A Soldier’s Christmas,” in which Talmadge pours his heart into solo acoustic guitar …, reminding us that sometimes all you need to make a great song are three chords and the truth.”
Performing Songwriter – July 2006  (U.S.) metinm

“A mix of old and new, Blissville is a perfect way to meet Jeff Talmadge and his songs. They have a way of sticking in your memory. “40 Days of Rain,” the stunningly gorgeous “Wild and Precious Thing,” and the intimate “Secret Anniversaries” are my favorites now…. Warm, caring performances throughout. An album both sweet and bittersweet.”
SingOut!, Summer 2006  (U.S.)

“Blissville is a gentle electric folk album filled with familiar themes handled well. Talmadge has an effective voice that at times reminds of a young Leonard Cohen. As a winner of the Academy of American Poets Award, it’s not surprising his lyrics are more poetic — more imaginative, clearer and concise turns of phrase — than the typical singer-songwriter album….The music is consistently good….This is a well done CD that’s already climbed onto the Roots Music Report, Freeform American Roots and Americana charts….”
Buddy Magazine, May 2006 (U.S.)

“The first two songs on Blissville are enough to … understand that we are facing a decidedly superior class of songwriter. Blissville is certainly among the discs of the year.”
Roots Highway, May 2006 (Italy)

“[On Blissville] the feel is seamless; the production, first-rate; the performance, thumbs-up….[Talmadge] lives by the lyric, has the melodic sensibility of the folk master and writes with the muse at his side.”
Frank Gutch, Jr., FAME (Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange)
March 2006 (U.S.)

“Anyone who’s hungry for some good new music of the Townes Van Zandt kind might like it….. Talmadge is obviously a craftsman, and songs like “40 Days of Rain” seem haunted by the small Texas towns where he grew up. The album as a whole plays/reads like a fine collection of Raymond Carver short stories….”
–M. Herring, Lone Star Webstation, March 2006 (U.S)

“. . . I take a measure of hope from those songwriters whose work stands as literature. I’ve been listening to Jeff Talmadge’s new record, Blissville, tonight. He’s getting better with every record, with every song. Texas-born, Talmadge condenses dust to stone and, in his best writing, stone to diamond.” (4 1/2 stars out of 5)
Freight Train Boogie, February 2006

“Talmadge has made his best record yet with Blissville.”
Doug Lang, CFRO Radio, “Better Days”

“[Blissville] is a great disc.”
Randy Auxier, WDBX

“[This] Texan singer-songwriter writes strongly and powerfully . . . . I was very much taken with the warmth of Jeff’s idiomatic, honest, intimate, sometimes half-spoken vocal style, and by his plain-speaking and simply evocative lyrics . . . . [A]lways better than likeable, . . . the more recent tracks in particular [are] really characterful in a soft-edged alt-country mode that’s often reminiscent as much of the rootsy mid-period Band albums as anything else . . . . I can’t quite fathom why he’d never appeared on my own personal radar before.”
David Kidman, NetRhythms (U.K.)

“His music fits in the singer/songwriter category on the borders where country meets folk . . . . These are story songs beautifully arranged with instrumental backings to suit the mood. A lovely album . . . . “
Southern Country (U.K)

“… melancholic lyrics, half-spoken, half-sung with a warm baritone, with which he stands in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark … and it seems more and more he will end up in the top-drawer of the singer-songwriters guild.”
Rootstime (NL)

“… lyrics that are strong in their simplicity and seemingly effortless . . .”

“Straight from the heart of Texas, the next troubadour. In the tradition of some better known Texas singer-songwriters … he plays sultry bballads, with instrumentation as tasteful as it is sturdy, and lyrical passages that are deserving of being quoted in their entirety.”
Elsevier Magazine (NL)

“… that rare combination of beautiful lyrics and strong melodies.”
Radio Beverwijk News (NL)

“… Talmadge belongs to the next generation of Texan singer-songwriters and proves with ‘Blissville’ that he is a great talent.
Plato Mania E-zine (NL)

“Wonderful lyrics and melodies and a celestial voice….You don’t often come across something more beautiful …”
CtrlAltCountry (BE)

“… intelligent and poetic lyrics… A very new pleasant music experience.”
Trots Allt (SE)

“[On ‘Blissville,’] Talmadge moves gradually from his image of pure singer-songwriter to that of real roots artist …. [A] mandatory purchase for each credible songwriter collection.”
Roots Town Music (NL)

“Driven craftsmanship …. His consistent style and quality become clear, just like on Gravity, Grace and the Moon …. The Texan evokes a feeling … that dovetails with Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark.”
Heaven (NL)

“Great musician, great sound, great CD. One of today’s best singer-songwriters.”
Soundcheck (Germany)

“Very, very beautiful CD …. “
MusikExpress (Germany)

“Every singer-songwriter should undoubtedly hear it …. [W]onderful.”
Stereo (Germany)

“Class composer, strong singer-songwriter.”
Oldiemarkt (Germany)

“He marches forward with his own style, taking you through the hard times and sorrows with his ballads, and embodying joy and gladness when he writes with celebration. A poetic singer-songwriter, whom you believe sight unseen.”
MusicOutlook (Germany)

“In this country, he’s mostly unknown. But that should soon change …. [A] notable leap forward from last year’s Gravity, Grace and the Moon … One of the best singer/songwriter releases of the year.”
Good Times (Germany)

“… he belongs and thrives close to the heart of things; he is an acute observer of everyday life. But the simple tales of love and death are woven with the golden thread of a big talent …. What Talmadge does on Blissville is slowly draw you in, after awhile you become part and parcel of the experience and eventually you care desperately ….”
Americana–UK (United Kingdom)

“If there’s one word related to folk music, it’s ‘honesty’. In the lyrics … the acoustic accompaniment … and the intimacy artists put in their songs … Jeff Talmadge satisfies all the criteria …. Beautiful CD.”
Planet Internet (NL)

“He is spellbinding with calm and soothing songs … [R]eally great, great storytelling music.”
Dala-Demokraten (SE)

“Jeff Talmadge is the reincarnation of Townes Van Zandt … but Talmadge is no cheap copy-cat. His songs and his voice are quite his own.”
“SvD: Recension”Skivor (SE)

“[T]his artist sure has something to say, and he doesn’t have any commercial tricks up sleeves.
The album really wins by playing over and over and over again.”
SV:Smà Ylandsposten (SE)