CD Review: Buzz Cason - Passion

Veteran singer-songwriter Buzz Cason delivers a strong set of songs with Passion.
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To say that Buzz Cason has had a long and varied career would be an understatement. The Rockabilly Hall Of Famer is best known for the songs "Everlasting Love" and "Soldier Of Love," both of which he co-wrote. The former has charted in every decade since its release, while the latter was covered by the Beatles and Marshall Crenshaw, among others. He has sung backup for the lines of Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley and is also a published author.

If that was all Cason did, it would be a better career than most, but his muse has not left him, even at age 77. His albums Troubadour Heart (2014) and Record Machine (2015) received critical acclaim and now he is back with a strong new set of tracks, Passion.

Cason wrote or co-wrote all 11 songs on Passion and produced the album himself. His son Parker, a producer and songwriter in his own right, lends a hand by helping with production and songwriting on two tracks and plays a number of instruments throughout. The result is a mix of folk, blues, country and rock and roll that paints a vivid picture through Cason's excellent storytelling.

Jim Thistle's urgent drums propel the title track, which leads off the album. Cason's world-weary vocals lend an air of poignancy to the song when he sings, "Take away my mama dog, please leave me one pup." The song's melodic chorus contrasts nicely with its raw verses and make for a strong opener.

"Bread" follows, its jangly guitars recalling recent Tom Petty efforts but with a grittier vocal from Cason. Cason showcases his harmonica skills on this mid-tempo, bluesy number. The guitars are turned up to 11 on "Will You Love Me?," a song with a killer, swamp-like groove and stinging lead guitar courtesy of Colin Whinnery.

The gritty groove continues on "That's The Way It Is." Cason delivers an urgent acoustic guitar and a strong vocal while Parker Cason accompanies him on lead guitar. Both here and throughout, Cason mixes his pop sense with blues, folk, country and rock and roll, making for songs with an edge that still have sing-along choruses.

The album closes with the melodic ballad "We Soldiered On." Cason gives a touching vocal over an ever-building backdrop of guitars and keyboards courtesy of Whinnery and Parker Cason. The song offers a dramatic end to the proceedings.

At 77 years old, most men would be enjoying retirement. To quote his own song, Cason has soldiered on, doing what he does best: Creating well-crafted songs with strong lyrics, surrounded by ace players. Well worth a listen.