Singer/songwriter Vincent Poag has been compared to Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler -- lofty praise to be sure -- and while his music and voice bear similarities to both, especially the latter, he's different enough that he has forged his own unique path. On his second album, For The Girls, he blends strong lyrics and songwriting with pop, jazz, country and world music to come up with a fine collection of songs.
The album opens with the well-constructed waltz of "45 Mile An Hour Girl." Poag contrasts the difference between him and his female companion by stating that he's a 75-mile an hour guy. Mandolins and harmonica blend nicely with acoustic guitars on this strong opener. On the title track, Poag takes an island feel approach to the song. The song has a more playful feel than much of the rest of the album, but is still strong lyrically.
"Forever" is a folk number that shows off Poag's strong pop sensibilities. The track's orchestration is reminiscent of vintage Paul McCartney in places without being derivative. On "My Wings," Poag delves into gospel, complete with a choir on this piano-based track.
Poag's world-weary voice works well on the sad ballad, "Waiting For Me." A muted trumpet adds to the song's melancholy mood. Less successful is "Wonder." Sung by Diana Hope, the track feels out of place as her pretty vocals provide a stark contrast to Poag's rougher delivery.
Some of the album's finest moments can be found on "Scarlett & Me," a jazz-influenced love song with pretty chord changes and "New Orleans," a track that takes the listener right to Bourbon Street. Its use of horns is authentic sounding and shows off the diversity in Poag's songwriting.
On For The Girls, Poag shows he is a strong talent, worthy of the comparisons. The album is a diverse collection and, while similar to the aforementioned artists, is different enough to merit further listening.