With his relaxed, storytelling approach, Michael Poulopoulos’ solo debut “Greenhorn” feels like an intimate conversation with the singer, sitting on his front porch as he gently strums his acoustic guitar.
A separate journey from his path as one-half the acoustic duo of Palatypus, this new singular effort is a pleasing mix of blues, folk and rock, and connects many of Poulopoulos’ influences: Dylan, Prine, Young, but updates the sound with his own uncomplicated, minimalistic style.
On the opening track “Drunk,” Ryan Dunham’s occasional harmonica wafts over Poulopoulos’ bare chords and soothing Jack Johnson-esque voice. “No Diamonds To Toss” is a lovesick lullaby all about trying to forget the one you loved, with Courtney Blackwell harmonizing in the background.
Tucked in the middle of the impressive 15-song line-up is “White Line,” which shows off Poulopoulos’ fun, bluesy side with more harmonica wailing by Dunham and life-questioning lyrics like: “I’m meeting Jesus/Would you like to meet me there?/Riding on the white line/Up Heaven’s stairs” and evokes a young Johnny Cash crooning “Jackson.”
Curious, yet controlled Poulopoulos feels his way through each song like one might find his way through the dark – slowly and carefully. That attention to detail is what defines – and ultimately shines through on – “Greenhorn,” showing that Poulopoulos can certainly stand all on his own.
Review by Lindsay Malachowski
M.R. Poulopoulos and Ryan Dunham’s Red Haired Strangers team up to play a Happy Hour Benefit for MS at Lynn’s Uptown Tavern in Albany at 5pm on Friday. Admission is a $10 donation. Poulopoulos will also join his Palatypus bandmate Matt Durfee, as well as Tom Lindsay and Michael Eck for a free singer-songwriter mini-fest at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam at 5pm on Saturday, before dashing off to play with Red Haired Strangers and the Nancy Walker Trio for the final Howling at the Moon concert of the season at Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction at 7pm, also on Saturday. Admission is a $2 donation.