Acoustic Artist Bob Sharkey Returns With Gentle New Album
It’s been over a decade since singer-songwriter Bob Sharkey released any music. We’ve missed his seamless ability to weave jazz tendencies into his acoustic efforts, but the years have been good to Bob — on his latest full-length album Green off Mother West, he delivers a dreamy selection of coffeehouse tunes meant to soothe.
Green opens with “Coastline,” the kind of sweet, hopeful acoustic track you might find attributed to fellow artists like Amos Lee or Joshua Radin. There’s an accessible quality to it, never too low or too droning, just a high-speed strummer that introduces us to Bob’s mellow delivery. On “Save Your Goodbyes,” the spotlight is on the classic jazz that Bob studied and honed over the past few decades as a working musician. It’s the quintessential coffeehouse lounge tune — a lazing slow-burn built on twangy plucks, percussive shimmers, and flavorful keys that lay the base for some of Bob’s best vocals off the record. “Turnstile” boasts more of that throwback dreaminess Bob does so well. It’s not so much jazzy as it is indie-leaning and it’s not so much melancholy as it is merely tender, a strong effort that pushes Bob to deliver his most rounded arrangement yet, despite its brief length.
The most beautiful part of Green is “Box Of Secrets,” a languishing stunner built on resounding string swells vibrating in the distance of emotive acoustic strums for a full minute before Bob comes in singing. There’s so much weight to this one, heavy with distant percussive throbs and a gritty vocal delivery that cuts deep at its softest point when Bob sheepishly sings, “I really wanna tell you how I’m sorry for all the ways I let you down.” We return to that slouchy jazz treatment on “So Long,” still drunk on classic jazz melody but kicked up with more expressive warbles. Green ends a relaxing 40 minutes later with “Home,” twangy acoustic strums picked fast and raw as organic percussion joins in to add a wooden texture to the most outright moment of folk on the whole record.
With his newest release, Bob Sharkey reminds us that he’s a songwriter with a gold soul. Green soothes our own. Each song is a light, lush acoustic effort meant to sit comfortably with each other for an album that works to loosen the knots in our back and relax us into repose.