Bob Skon Trio: Refreshments
After unsuccessfully dabbling with a name change in an attempt to shift some of the focus off of the front man, The Bob Skon Trio is back with some new studio material. Unlike Bob’s first album, with plenty of back up talent brought in, “Refreshments” is all about the Trio.
Matt Trent and Bob have been a stable group for a while now, and they thought it would be a good idea to record what people have been experiencing live. This also explains the reason for releasing a smaller package rather than waiting to have more studio-ready material. They were anxious to be able to give people the trio to take home, and that is exactly what the listener gets.
No one should expect any kind of giant leap from the type of material heard live or on “2nd Time Around.” The only real difference is that the arrangements are made specifically for Bob on guitar, Trent on Bass and Matt on Cajon. They also provide the only voices heard on the tracks. That is just fine because the music doesn’t need any more. Sure it might be interesting to beef it up a bit, but there is something to be said for the purity of how the songs are regularly performed.
“Not Great At One” has a bouncy little beat which puts me in the mind of “Groove a Little” by T. Rex or “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street.” The lyric is clever but by no means the most profound thing Bob has ever penned. It is a fun exercise in humility. But let’s face it Bob, you are a great songwriter (keep reading).
I may have inferred that there were no surprises, but that is not exactly true. The country/bluegrass number “High Definition” is a Trent Collier composition. It’s a playful love song that eschews modern luxuries in favor of a significant other. Although different from what we fans may be used to, the song seems right at home with the other selections.
When Bob claims in the opening track that he’s ‘not great at one,’ did he listen to “When I’ve Come Far Enough” while he was writing it? It is songs like this that set Mr. Skon apart from the average bear. Sure the style is firmly in the singer/songwriter genre, but very few do it so well. He has a knack for capturing a moment we can all identify with in a meaningful and beautiful way. Just a simple act of looking through some old keepsakes is transformed to something that touches all of our hearts. The melody is perfect for the occasion and the instrumentation superb. The vocal harmonies are extremely tight and Bob’s guitar work is outstanding. Absolutely beautiful. Submit this song for a contest!
“She’s In It For You” is probably as close to rocker as the trio will ever get. The guitar is strummed almost to the breaking point and Matt beats the hell out of the cajon. The lyrics are also more on the rock ‘n’ roll side.
As if just to prove inspiration isn’t a rare occurrence, “Tow The Island In” provides another showcase of Bob’s talent. The lyrical poetry is combined with a damn fine musical composition. I especially enjoy the changeup in the middle. Yeah, I’m always looking out for prog tendencies. Oh, and that long howl at the end is priceless.
Kudos offered for providing a great collection of tunes, albeit a very short one. “Refreshments” is not going to change the world, but it’s very pleasant listening. Even though the singer/songwriter thing may be past its prime, how many of us can say we don’t like it? When done well this kind of music is always welcome. And the tunes on this album, CD… oh let’s just call it an EP already, are done very well.
Bob Skon – guitar, lead vocals
Matt Steward – cajon, vocals
Trent Collier – bass, vocals