The Gulley Flats Boys
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2005, Volume 12, #6
Written by John Metzger
Nearly halfway through The Gulley Flats Boys, Francis Dunnery declares, "Iím starting over in the middle of life," thus providing a thematic checkpoint for those who perhaps hadnít been paying attention to the conceptual layout of his sprawling, new, two-disc effort. Indeed, throughout the album, the former front man for the British art-rock outfit It Bites digs into the dirt of his psyche, revisiting his past in order to unearth the passage that leads to his future. In essence, The Gulley Flats Boys tells the story of who Francis Dunnery is ó not as a musician, but as a person, be it an adult, a child, a father, a spouse, or a friend ó via a series of reflections upon the people, places, and things that have touched his heart and stirred his soul. With each song rendered, he seems to make peace with some portion of himself that forever had been stuck in time.
The surrounding music mirrors the earnest nature of Dunneryís lyrics, and while The Gulley Flats Boys certainly can be regarded as a singer/songwriter-oriented outing ó one that is driven as much by his intricate acoustic guitar patterns as it is by his soulfully delivered vocals ó it also features the variegated, jazz-tinged keyboard textures of David Sancious and the stunning harmonies of Dorie Jackson. Together, the trio ruminates within the quiet spaces of Dunneryís cathartic compositions, shading them with both nuance and drama. Yet, this is far more than one manís therapeutic time capsule, and although his journey of self-discovery leads Dunnery to accept himself for who he is, The Gulley Flats Boys offers a cinematic glimpse at middle age that is universal in its appeal.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box