Dick Aven New LP 'Spin So Long'
Dick Aven begins his jazzy-pop album with a song titled “Stirred Up.” A
title like that one suggests a bit of rollicking music. Not so, though.
Over a plucked acoustic guitar, and colored by Aven’s sexy saxophone,
you might say this track is only lightly stirred. It’s a positive song,
however, as it predicts a future when all is well. Perhaps, it reflects
the thoughts of one that can see a light at the end of the tunnel, after
all this whole horrible pandemic business is finished. Aven sings about
how a “beautiful day’s” gonna come. Let’s hope he’s right. The song
creates a woozy, happy mood. It’s one of many soft rock gems on Aven’s
consistently good album.
With “Weightless,” Aven gets a little funky – but just a little bit.
This one is driven by electric piano and finds Aven getting into a
gentle groove. Like the album-opener, it also suggests a wish/hope for a
better life. Aven sings about how he was “born to be weightless,” which
suggests he – like us all – is many times weighted down by, well, life.
Nobody wants to be burdened down. Yet, more often than not, we are held
down by circumstances. With this groove song, however, you may feel
weightless – at least while it plays.
Aven plays some mighty fine saxophone, and sax appears on nearly every
track on his album. When he’s not dreaming of a brighter future for
mankind, he’s singing about love and romance. There’s his ‘moth to the
flame’ analogy of “Fly Into The Fire,” which is followed by the loving
thoughts expressed on “It’s Something.”
The album’s title cut, “Spin So Long,” is propelled by acoustic piano.
Aven sings it with a sweet vocal tone. He’s not especially soulful when
he sings. At least not as soulful as when he blows his horn. He sounds a
little like Michael Franks, in that he mixes jazz elements with
One of the album’s most intriguing song titles is “Bad Dogs and Weed.”
“I’ve lived a lifetime with bad dogs and weed,” Aven tells us. Just what
this means, however, is difficult to say. It seems to suggest a kind of
wild, music business lifestyle. After all, Aven tours with Jamey
Johnson, and one has to imagine the road with this man gets a little
wild at times.
With “Unglued,” Aven sings with a high vocal register, the same one he
also applies to the single, “Fly Into The Fire.” This track reveals
itself slowly, much the same way “Stirred Up” does.
The album closes with two instrumentals. One, “Deacon Bones,” is upbeat
and almost sounds as though it could be a TV show theme song. It’s
powered, of course, by Aven’s strong saxophone work. In places on it,
Aven’s saxophone is nicely multitracked. The album closes with “Spinning
Outro,” another instrumental, and a short one. It’s only 1:03 long. Its
rhythm is provided by insistent acoustic guitar. Rather than being a
saxophone song, this one features a flute carrying its melody.
Maybe this is an outdated term, but Dick Aven’s Spin So Long is
decidedly mellow, from start to finish. It’s the interesting kind of
mellow, though, and never dull. Go ahead and spin to this one, albeit on
the gentle cycle.
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