“Ambling Toward the Unknown”
It is indeed gratifying when any musical artist has both the talent and the ambition not to stand on his albeit well-earned laurels, not to fall into the trap of repeating musically what has worked well in the past, but instead takes the creative leap to make even better music than he has before.
Such is the task eminently and expertly fulfilled by Connecticut musician/songwriter Steve Mednick on “Ambling,” his third release in what, judging by its growth and spirit, reveals the promise of what is going to be a long and interesting career.
Mednick had a ways to go to top the eclectic fortitude of both his first full-length release, “Bucket of Steam,” and the follow-up EP, “Dark Ages Reprise,” two stark, iconoclastic and powerful releases in their own regard. On both, Mednick brought his musical references to bear, and managed to sound like all of them, and, remarkably, none of them, at the same time. Stepping away from what works and pushing the envelope to something new, yet still, at the same time, making a logical musical progression from earlier work is a daunting task to bear, and it takes a strong, positive, confident artist like Mednick to make it work, as he does here.
Now, with “Ambling,” he has truly found his own voice, and what a splendid journey it is. For a listener, the real strength of Mednick’s songs and singing is that they are equal parts intelligent and far above board, all but requiring full attention. This is not your teenager’s Ipod background music. Yet, while the music can be, at times, light and fun, Mednick’s genius is in the details, be it the self-described twists and turns of “Wherever Paths Lead,” the earnestness and standing true and tall of “Words,” the ethereal righteousness of “Prelude to The Fall/Jacksonsville,” or the sparkling simplicity, yet depth of “A Lost Child,” the latter two songs which may be the finest of the many great songs Mednick has written.
You want a narrow, shallow repetition ringing with imitation? You better look somewhere else. You want the mature growth of an artist comfortable in his own voice and song? Then, grab this CD and listen to Steve Mednick.
- Mark T. Gould