BD Gottfried The Warden's Picnic

Bill Gottfried has worked with a wide array of musicians over the years and all along he has stuck to what he believes in; delivering his own brand of progressive rock. His fifth album, Warden's Picnic', loosely addresses freedom and is not that typical of the work he has done in the past. This album is in some way more subdued, the tracks seemingly quite similar in their composition and delivery except for a couple of tracks, 'Plasma' and 'Waiting For Crazy'.

To the uninitiated, Gottfried's voice will appear strange. The disjointed and slightly offbeat delivery over the progressive rock backing is an odd combination. The lyrics throughout are interesting but the format of their delivery seems to overwhelm the music. Far too often the musicians are muted and forced into the background by Gottfried attempting to deliver far too many words. More of a poet, Gottfried may fare better delivering his messages in a different format, as attempting to use this style of rock as a backbone rarely works on the album. There are some very good moments that include some melodic guitar, strong bass lines and solid drumming.

The highlights of the album include the instrumental 'Plasma' and the album closer 'Waiting For Crazy'. 'Plasma' is more mainstream progressive rock, with some very nice arrangements and some impressive mood setting. The band of musicians that Gottfried has assembled here are obviously very capable, it's such a shame that there weren't more tracks of this ilk on the album. The final track, 'Waiting For Crazy' is, again, slightly different from the rest of the album. Vocally, it is not as disjointed or extreme and the music is far more listenable. These last two tracks are worthy of better support and the musicians are deserving of more freedom to express themselves.

The singer/songwriter/producer has delivered an album consisting of very clever and thought provoking lyrics, though I feel the vocals all too often let it down. Some of the songs appear too wordy and this tends to detract from the overall mood that each track sets. That aside, the fact that some of the tunes are good make it a worthwhile listen.