Rodney DeCroo Allegheny

Rodney DeCroo Allegheny
Vancouver, BC-based singer-songwriter/poet Rodney DeCroo has never done things in a conventional way. His last three albums included a live record and a double CD (2010's Queen Mary Trash), and his new outing, Allegheny, features what he calls "poem songs." These are narrated atop a sparse instrumental soundtrack, to riveting effect. While so many poetry-based or spoken word recordings are affected or pretentious, the material here is as convincing as DeCroo's original songs. He explores his back pages, returning to a troubled childhood and youth spent in Western, PA. Not an idyllic experience, as these poems show, but DeCroo brings this time and place to life vividly and eloquently. The Allegheny River is a recurring and rather malevolent image ("the river's phlegmy, dark green clutch"). The eight poem-songs weave together nicely, and the 27-minute length of the album helps keep your full attention. The musical contributions (a collaboration with Rob Malowany) add atmosphere, but in subtle fashion. As a narrator, DeCroo's delivery is natural and unforced. Allegheny deserves to bring DeCroo attention in CanLit circles, while his current fan base is sure to be impressed. (Barge)