Rory Merritt Stitt – Harlequin

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Album Review by EDF

The follow up to THE NARCISSIST, Rory’s debut album, HARLEQUIN is best described as piano driven theatre pop that is similar to early Billy Joel and Todd Rundgren. Within the, at times, cabaret flavoured piano riffs they proceed to turn the songs into entertaining stories filled with humour, fatal love and hope.

Born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, Rory was originally chosen as one of ten artists to be represented at Midem 2001 in Cannes by Unsigned America. While there are a number of piano based artists around, none seem to want to take up the mantel of the classic storyteller, which is what Rory essentially is.

AMERICAN HARLEQUIN, the opening track, brings you to the where the clowns rule the centre of the circus ring. THE RUNNER shows off Rory’s vocal skills as he goes from low to high notes without a problem. UNLACED is one of those ballads with a rare truthful line “your flesh smelled like London, dirty and cultured all at once”.

DESTINY is one of those grooving, enjoyable tracks that is unfortunately only just over two minutes long. The mid 1970’s Elton John style RENAISSANCE MAN whose idea of “the new dream is here, he carries it on his back with so much grace”. ESSENTIAL is a break from what has gone before and features Rory on guitar, which just proves the musical scope on display on the CD.

Lovers of Rundgren, Joel and John should at least give Rory Merritt Stitt’s HARLEQUIN a chance as we all know that mainstream artists would not attempt this sort of style. Then again, if they did, it would not be as good as this.

5 stars