- William Michael
- Houston Press
- Jack Saunders,
A Real Good Place To Start (White Cat): One of
Houston's true roots-music icons, Jack Saunders can be described
perfectly in one word: Integrity.
- Saunders has
been at this so long he cuts straight to the chase. This isn't
some over-thought, let's-play-at-folk-rock schtick that numerous
young bands have, this is a full-grown pro matching sounds and
words -- "I say goodbye to gravity when you come around"
-- with all the precision of someone who's been at his craft
40 years. This one is Houston proud. (Note to Montrose hipsters:
Put down your Shovels and Rope and go see this local treasure.
Hip yourself. There's a reason some guys last on the scene forever.)
Over the last
10 years, Jack has won multiple Houston Press Awards and nominations
for Instrumentalist of the Year at the Kerrville Folk Festival.
INSIDE HOUSTON: The good writers are storytellers. Theyve
got a good eye for detail and a gift for language. Any
tunesmith would be proud to have written these songs. No doubt
about it: this is a major league songwriter.
His gritty songs prove that Jack is set to confound the music
biz, just like peers ranging from Jimmy LaFave to Joe Ely.
come into his own with a crisp, convincing album.
Saunders is the king of the singer/songwriter hill in Houston.
His voice and live performance skills are two strengths, though
his most notable skill is songwriting, which remains the envy
of many of his contemporaries.
HOUSTON PRESS: Lyrics that ring
so true that it seems the songwriter has either been reading
the listeners mind.
- Andrew Dansby
- Houston Chronicle
singer/songwriter/producer/sideman/studio owner Jack Saunders
wears many hats. Yet he has a new set of songs despite having
released a wonderful album, "A Real Good Place to Start,"
just last year. Saunders' new one is titled "Grit and Jangle,"
a phrase (that) nicely fits Saunders' music, thoughtful singer-songwriter
fare sung in a rich, fluid voice with plenty of melodic lift.
- James Killen
- This recording
does indeed "jangle" from the progressive C&W,
"Mustache on the Mona Lisa" to the Cajun "Acadian
Every song is carefully conceived and brilliantly
executed with a clean but simple and direct production that delivers
the lyrics to the listener's mind. "Raindrops" is one
of those tunes best heard with your eyes closed, so that you
feel every note.
This one is worth several listens just to crack the surface and
worth a few more spins to get in deep.
- Luc Meert
singer-songwriter Jack Saunders has recently released a particularly
first-rate CD. "A Real Good Place to Start" is the
name of the album, and if you don't already know the man, this
is a very good way to get to know him and become acquainted with
his music. He himself calls his music Folk Rock/Americana and
we can find the best of the genre on this CD. The man is a super-gifted
storyteller, has the unique talent to match his great lyrics
with equally high quality music and a great voice. For this genre,
today you'd be hard-pressed to find someone better.
- On this release
Jack has recorded ten songs that he penned, plus one cover, Tom
T. Hall's "That's How I Got to Memphis," which all
range from fascinating to catchy and sublime. Despite substantial
experience as a producer with his own studio-and as a musician
who performs solo, with his own band, and with other artists-Saunders
seems rather modest. And this is also expressed in his music.
Jack doesn't play guitar with "look at me!" arrogance,
but even if you focus on his playing alone, you'll have a deep
admiration for this artist.
- Several have
compared him to Bob Dylan. And although others may not hear the
similarity, all agree that this man is very definitely an artist
worthy of discovery. From his sublime performance on the lap
steel and dobro, you get a taste, here and there, of country
music. Though not mentioned in the notes, I want to credit his
harmonica playing. Perhaps he's not a virtuoso on it, but he
plays it well, with sensitivity. It is impossible to enumerate
all the highlights on this CD. The album is constructed as a
- I would like
to mention the longest track on this release, "Doors of
Amsterdam," which features the sublime use of a lap steel.
The catchy rhythm and beautiful story, based on his stay there,
is a brilliant number. And you won't miss a lyrics insert because
the bright vocals allow you to effortlessly follow along. Also
listen carefully to "Elegant Grace," a song Jack wrote
with movie star Grace Kelly in mind; it is a lovely song.
- The sincerity
of the man and his authenticity as an artist emanates from these
songs. Clearly, my opinion of Jack Saunders is very high. This
release is not to be missed by lovers of this genre.
- Luc Meert