KIND OF EVERYTHING
To borrow a phrase from the project’s second song, this album is “a hell of ride….Kind of Everything is a surprisingly fresh musical project that exceeds the already high expectations fans have from a new Jeff Talmadge album. During the album’s penultimate song, Talmadge performs a song titled “Sometimes You Choose Love.” However listeners will have no such choice, because you cannot help but fall in love with the 13 tracks presented here. — Countrychart.com
I knew Jeff Talmadge was someone to watch when I heard Crazy Little Town from his Blissville album a few years ago….A musician friend of mine says that the best songwriters write for the reader/listener/consumer and leave the true meaning up to them. If that is the case, Jeff Talmadge is one of the best songwriters/singers/musicians out there….If Crazy Little Town was the only example, that would hold true to a degree, but Talmadge has a boatload of tunes which reach as deep or almost as deep.
….Certain of his songs are musical forks in the road. Like he does so obviously on Crazy Little Town and Kind of Everything, I find myself looking at the past and wondering about the many forks in the road. I find myself immersed in what life would have been had I taken a left turn instead of a right at just one point – at what it would have like if I had taken several turns, in fact. What would have happened, say, if I had told various girls I wanted something more instead of remaining an admirer from a distance. If I had accepted job promotions which would have forced me to relocate. If I had not been drafted. If I had found something that I loved more than music. Talmadge does that to me. He makes me daydream. He makes me long for something that … happened to have happened, or something that happened to not have. Few songwriters have made me feel that. Very, very few. To myself, that’s his gift. Some songwriters make their music personal. Talmadge makes YOU make it personal….
The man is truly unique, whether it be voice or songwriting. He was a lawyer once you know. He evidently walked away from the law to do what his heart demanded. Money or happiness? It is not an easy decision unless you subscribe to lives as presented through Hollywood. In my opinion, it is lucky for us that he doesn’t. Jeff Talmadge was born to be a musician, whether he knew it or not, in fact, he is a musician. Listen and learn.
— Frank Gutch, Jr., Folk and Acousting Music Exchange (FAME)
Kind of Everything, his 7th studio release, is his best to date, lyrically covering those who fall through the cracks, love found and love lost and a ballad, “Molly,” where Tim O’Brien adds his majestic mandolin and vocals. Musically, Jeff rules with his time honed finger-picking style. This is a great road CD, or to sit alone with your morning coffee and reflect about your own life and travels. — Jim Clark, Lee County Courier (Tupelo, MS)
The most ear-grabbing number on Jeff Talmadge’s new album, Kind of Everything, is “Sometimes You Choose Love,” bouncy, bouyant country blues about the unpredictability of the heart. Like most of this singer-songwriter’s work, this song disarms the listener with a relaxed, reassuring vocal and sparkling, finger-picking guitar, only to slip in a discomfitting truth. We like to believe we rule our destinies, but Talmadge reminds us that “Sometimes you choose love; sometimes love chooses you.” — By Geoffrey Himes
His seventh and latest release, “Kind of Everything” affirms that Talmadge has moved into that small circle of songwriters whose work matters, the ones whose albums are significant events…. [I]f Talmadge can be keenly insightful about the end of relationships, he is also capable of depicting the buoyancy that comes in the rush of love’s optimism, as in “One Spectacular Moon” or the album’s closer, “Sometimes You Choose Love.” Producer Thomm Jutz is wise enough to give Talmadge’s music the room it needs. And like the restless characters who live in these songs, the album stakes a restless claim that is satisfied only by hearing it again.
–Al Maginnes, Option
Talmadge is cut from the same bolt of literate, lyric-and-guitar-powered troubadour cloth that’s produced a stream, but not a flood, of Texas wordsmiths. His strength is writing, and singing, about real people; some who are in a jam, some who are in love. [He] brings the same passion, understanding, pain and gain to the down-and-outs in “It’ll Sure Be Cold Tonight” and “Molly” as he does love (gained and lost) in “Step By Step (As Long As)”, “Mississippi Moon” and “Sometimes You Choose Love.”
–Jim Beal, Jr. MySanAntonio.com (San Antonio Express-News)
Jeff Talmadge adds the flesh and blood to the skeletal frame of lyrics and melody. His characters are fully formed, their reasoning and intentions surface level. You feel the “Mississippi Moon” whose glow hits the present, shedding light into the past. Time gone by is alive again as the sound of a “Hamburg Violin” comes clearly through the years, scaling back the calendar pages to allow the smile of a memory to come in….If the ability to crawl into the skin of others were a store bought art, Talmadge would have stripped the shelves clean….The melody that accompanies the lyrics in the music of Jeff Talmadge is as comfortable as your favorite shirt with the same results. The sound wraps around the songs, letting the words be the stars of the party. The Americana texture of the playing gives truth and honesty the wheel, letting the notes navigate the route.
–Danny McCloskey, The Alternate Root
❁❁❁❁ [T]his is Talmadge’s most musically ambitious album, but it’s still the stories about characters in flux, filled with telling detail, that are center stage….Talmadge writes about choices, most obviously on “Sometimes You Choose Love” (“sometimes love chooses you”). Which is a subject in which he has some expertise, as [said] in his bio, “Sometimes you choose a career and sometimes a career chooses you.”
–John Conquest, Third Coast Music
★★★★ “Jeff’s overview on life is without borders…. It’s been years since I last listened to Talmadge, I’m overjoyed I took another tilt at the windmill.”
– Arthur Wood, Maverick Magazine
A Texas lawyer that says screw it, moves to Atlanta not to work for Greenberg Traurig but to be a folk singer? You had me at hello. Kind of a high tech folkie with Americana leanings, Talmadge is right up the alley for any one looking for a solid, new singer/songwriter with something to say. With a background as a studious type, he learned his lessons well from Van Zandt, Clark, etc. and presents himself a worthy sucessor to this August lineage.
–Chris Spector, Midwest Record
[S]imple observations made exquisite by Talmadge’s skills. [H]e has a few stories to tell and the ability to tell them well….Warm and nourishing tales that Talmadge tells about everyday people who do not do especially extraordinary things, but sure do seem special by the time their three or four minutes are up.
–Al Kaufman, AtlantaMusicGuide.com
This album shows him as a ripened musician, comfortable with his mellow country-folk talents. He is a real storyteller and the lyrics are worth listening to. His songs are melodic, rhythmic and feature his strong finger-picking….The songs are simple, understated, and literate. Those who are Townes Van Zandt fans will want to check this out.
–John Shelton Ivany Top 21, National News Bureau (syndicated)
He’s a consistently good songwriter, if a bit melancholy or at least contemplative on this one; his CDs are always satisfying listens somewhere between folk and country. Talmadge’s seasoned voice … brings a welcome sincerity to the songs. His first class accompaniment includes producer Thomm Jutz (guitar, keyboard), Pat McInerney (percussion), Fats Kaplin (fiddle), Ray Bonneville (harmonica), Dennis Crouch (bass), Tim O’Brien (mandolin), and others.
–Tom Geddie, Buddy
It’s kind of everything I look for in a CD!
–Dan Alloway, KTEP
Great CD. Jeff Talmadge’s wonderful album will remain in my ears and studio bag for many moons.
–Trish Lewis, WUCX-FM Eclectic Chair
[S]imple observations made exquisite by Talmadge’s skills. [H]e has a few stories to tell and the ability to tell them well….Warm and nourishing tales that Talmadge tells about everyday people who do not do especially extraordinary things, but sure do seem special by the time their three or four minutes are up.
–Al Kaufman, AtlantaMusicGuide.com
♪♪♪♪♪ “I loved the CD….Talmadge is a great writer…. I highly recommend this CD if you love that Texas singer/songwriter style of music a la Guy Clark, Eric Taylor and Lyle Lovett. Hopefully with the release of Kind of Everything Talmadge’s name will be mentioned with those writers because it sure needs to be!’
– Andy Ziehli, Americana Gazette
If you like Kind of Everything, you will probably like and want all the others. If you already have all the others, then you know you want this one
– Marq Herring, Lone Star Webstation (dedicated to the music of Townes Van Zandt)
Album of the week – Crossroads Radio NL
CD of the Month – Countrytrack syndicated radio NL
“[T]he sound is really perfect….[A]s a songwriter he has the ability to create pictures in the mind of the listener, the ability to sing simply and to deliver a universal message…”
– Mike Penard, Radio ISA
“Jeff continues to turn songwriting into poetry.”
– Steve Bronson, Wildman Steve Radio
Every new CD of Texan poet/songwriter Jeff Talmadge is an event I personally look forward to with pleasure and high expectations. Jeff has never disappointed me so far, and with “kind of Everything” he surpasses even my wildest imagination….Jeff is better than ever on this excellent new CD. Expect a flawless collection of top songs, produced immaculately and with the best accompaniment you could wish for. Let’s hope Jeff will soon return to Europe to promote his delightful new CD.
–Fred Schmale, Real Roots Café
Talmadge, with “Kind of Everything,” will please fans of the Texas singer-songwriter tradition and uses, along with his finger-picking style, the skills of … a fine group (Thommn Jutz, Fats Kaplin, Jon Vezner, Ray Bonneville, Danny Flowers, Tim O-Brien, Lloyd Maines, Pat McInerny, Dennis Crouch, Mark Fain, Ed Pettersen and others) who pour themselves into Talmadge’s trademark songs….Excellent album.
–Francois Braeken, BealeStreet.be
The strength of Talmadge’s songs lies in the imaginative story-telling lyrics offered up in intelligent Americana music. With that, he links up with legendary predecessors like Guy Clark, Tom Russell, Joe Ely and Townes Van Zandt. He narrates and sings his descriptive and sometimes introspective stories in a recognizable, Texan way.
The musical highlights on this CD are opener “If It Wasn’t For The Wind”, a David Olney song and the only cover on the album, the title track “Kind Of Everything”, the romantic love songs “One Spectacular Moon” and “He’ll Give Her Back This Town Tonight”, the folksy tracks “Summer Road” and “Mississippi Moon”, the country-blues song “Sometimes You Choose Love” and the country-influenced bonus track “In The Quiet Of Christmas”.
Before he started his uncertain life as a musician Jeff was active as lawyer …. But one suspects that this album will require him to spend even more time on his musical career, because the success of his “Kind Of Everything” will only increase the call for more performances.
Instinctively Jeff follows his very heart, that’s why his ‘Kind of Everything’ is full of his personal life’s experiences…. My personal favorites are the title song and the very straightforward ‘It’ll Sure Be Cold Tonight’. People admiring artists like David Olney, Eric Taylor, and more of these fine songsmiths should save a place for Jeff Talmadge’s oeuvre. ‘Kind of Everything’ is a strong and representative album by this Texan.
– Rein van den Berg, AltCountryForum.com
KIND OF EVERYTHING = Talmadge ala Texas & Tennessee. Mmmmm nice! On his seventh solo release Talmadge combines engaging melodies with storylines that quickly drew this listener in. That said much of the fare on offer on KIND OF EVERYTHING falls into comfortable, low-risk singer/songwriter territory, although there are exceptions including the melody underpinning Molly which possesses a discernible bluegrass edge, while the pace of Talmadge's vocal delivery on the (album) title song, the sad tale of good love gone bad, would not be out of place on a Sam Baker recording. As for the sole cover song If It Wasn't For The Wind, which opens this collection, it totally sounds like a Butch Hancock title, but was penned by the estimable David Olney and Nashville session musician Joe Fleming. A mere quarter of a century ago the song debuted on Olney's EYE OF THE STORM. Texas bred Talmadge's fourth outing GRAVITY, GRACE AND THE MOON (2004) was picked up by the Dutch Corazong label, allowing this one-time Austin lawyer to branch out and perform his songs in venues across Europe. If Jeff hadn't crossed the mighty Atlantic, then I doubt if any of his lyrics would have included the word ”polder" in Holland it's the term applied to a tract of former low-lying, now reclaimed land. Bearing the liner booklet credit ”for Jan and Maria' Step By Step (As Long As) opens with "As long as the wind still blows across the polder, As long as we hold our own against the sea." Hamburg Violin, the inspiration was a busking fiddler, similarly bears a European hallmark and furnishes proof positive that, unlike some consistently blinkered ”Lone Star or no star' song scribes, Jeff's overview on life is without borders. Much of this album was recorded at Thomm Jutz's studio in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, making it a first since Jeff's previous recordings, in the main, bear the hallmark, made in Texas. The project began at Elk Dog Studio, in nearby Nashville, under of the tutelage of Talmadge co-writer Ed Pettersen. When Pettersen decided to return to his ancestral homeland, Norway, Jutz picked up the reins. Overdubs from Lloyd Maines, Ray Bonneville, George Ensle and Bradley Kopp were recorded in establishments in and around Austin, while Jaime Michael's guitar on One Spectacular Moon, a song that he co-wrote with Jeff, was captured in a New Mexico studio. In the opening paragraph of his liner notes journalist Geoffrey Himes bestows much praise on Sometimes You Choose Love, the song that, technically (it's followed by the seasonally themed Bonus Track In The Quiet Of Christmas), draws this collection to a close. Given a choice, I'd award the accolade of finest song on KIND OF EVERYTHING to the tuneful Talmadge/ Pettersen collaboration It Hasn't Happened Yet. It's been years since Ilast listened to Talmadge, I'm overjoyed I took another tilt at the windmill.
–Maverick Magazine Review by Arthur Wood
AT LEAST THIS MUCH WAS TRUE
"Talmadge is indeed a standard-bearer for the tradition of reflective, conversational Texas songwriters that includes Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark. In a whiskey baritone, he delivers his lyrical, poetic songs half-sung, half-spoken, as if he's at a roadside bar telling a story he's told a hundred times before and knows it will deliver a great punch every time he tells it. The songs turn on crisp quotable lines ... but their simplicity allows the earnest story-telling and poetic lyrics to shine through ....Here's hoping he keeps finding time to produce exceptional albums like this one...."
–Sing Out! Spring 2008
Like a master poet, he has stripped away all but the essence of what he needs to tell his stories – simple fingerpicked guitar lines, strong memorable melodies, a chorus that brings the listener in, an occasional embellishment by Lloyd Maines on steel guitar or Rich Bowden on fiddle. Some artists lure listeners in by seeming to have innate knowledge that has eluded the rest of us, like some Tibeten monk who can summarize the meaning of existence in a riddle. Jeff Talmadge is the other kind of artist: The songwriter who is one of us, who finds life itself a universal riddle, but whose work is to interpret small pieces of that mystery and present it so that we all garner some truth from it.
–Jay Votel, Folk News (World Folk Music Association), Fall 2007 (U.S.)
Superlative... [T]he smallest details scattered like seeds resonate into poetry, simple on paper but bearing the weight of everyday experiences….While readily identifiable as stemming from the rich tradition of tales and conversational asides Texas is well-noted for, Talmadge doesn’t (need to) ride any outlaw trail, nor is he particularly following any archetypal folkie bent….[H]ere is a rarefied travel writer along life’s timelines. It would be criminal to allow him to proceed unchecked.
–Maverick, August 2007 (U.K.)
Texas singer-songwriter Jeff Talmadge’s latest is just 11 songs, but you get four distinct mood and style changes. On the opening four tracks he evokes John Prine in his use of raspy voice, Americana themes and wry innuendos. But then he moves into folk troubadour mode, starting with a glorious cover of Bob Dylan’s “Girl of the North Country,” before turning absolutely sweet on some love songs. The bonus track is the final revelation. “Chet Baker Street” is true to its title, with Talmadge channeling Baker’s dreamy, drifting cadences and spirit. In an age in which too many releases are the length of Tom Wolfe novels, this thoughtful and well-executed release is proof you can pack a lot into a small musical package.
–Hartford Advocate, August 2007 (U.S.)
Only once in a very long while does a musician like Jeff Talmadge come along. Each of his albums (six to date) has had, without exception, critics drooling over the singer/writer with the ability to paint lyrical landscapes of life and frame them with tunes of unsurpassed excellence so that they stay with he listener for a very long time. He began his recording career … in 1999 and continued ,,, through …his current masterpiece, At Least That Much Was True…Eleven glorious songs beautifully performed by Talmadge, assisted by some of the best pickers in the Lone Star State….An album to be cherished.
–Pete Smith (FAB-AM), July 2007, The Advertiser (UK)
An entirely beautiful acoustic folk ambience. Jeff Talmadge commands respect with the purity of his songs on the one hand, but also with great finesse, rich with sublime instrumentation….Talmadge is really worth the detour, and after his sixth opus, it is unpardonable not to own at least one of his albums.
–French Association of Country Music (Countrymusiccd.fr), August 2007 (France)
"[At Least That Much Was True] confirms his talent for great story-based songs based around melodies that lodge themselves in your consciousness....Accompanied by some of the finest musicians that Nashville and Austin have to offer, this is a worthy addition to the Americana/roots canon."
–Birmingham Post, June 2007 (U.K.)
Jeff Talmadge's third CD for Corazong Records, At Least That Much Was True, is his best so far….Obviously, comparisons can be made to the school of well-known Texas singer-songwriters, but Jeff Talmadge has found his own way in the larger music world….. At Least That Much Was True is one of the better singer songwriter discs of the year.
–Dutch Roots Radio, "Blueprint," March 2007 (The Netherlands)
Lovers of singer-songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, David Olney and Guy Clark should hear [this CD]. Jeff Talmadge is part of the group of Texas songwriters and proves with [At Least That Much Was True] that he, too, is a great talent. His dark and restrained songs one by one tell the most moving stories. He has collected excellent musicians that know how to lay down just the right musical accents to his pleasant voice…. It is more and more apparent that he will soon be in the top drawer of the singer-songwriters guild. His way of storytelling looks easy, but that is the art…. [I]t's solid and credible from beginning to end…. [A] particularly warm and pleasing album, which can finally bring Jeff Talmadge the break he well deserves. A class act!
–Rootstime, March 2007 (Belgium)
Jeff Talmadge is capable, like no other, of communicating feelings like Townes Van Zandt. He deserves to be as well known as Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, Tom Russell and Richard Dobson.
–Country Gazette, March 2007 (The Netherlands)
Jeff Talmadge, whose voice is reminiscent of Richard Shindell's, continues on the musical path on which he embarked with Gravity, Grace and the Moon (2003) and Blissville (2004). This yields no surprises, but indeed much well-cared-for music, with the steel guitar and dobro of Lloyd Maines and the accordion of Chip Dolan serving as musical flavorings. With a fine cover of Dylan's "Girl of the North Country" and a jazzy closer, "Chet Baker Street.
–Financieel Dagblad, March 2007 (The Netherlands)
[4 stars] Fine songs, written in the tradition of other known Texan singer-songwriters…. This CD is a worthy successor to the highly lauded Blissville.
–PlatoMania, April 2007 (The Netherlands)
There isn’t a bad song on the CD…. There are a plethora of singer songwriters in America who fall into the fairly amorphous category now referred to as Americana. Many have jumped on the bandwagon but are little more than average. In the case of Jeff Talmadge, he is a singer and lyricist who stands head and shoulders above the pack and has every right to be regarded in the same high esteem as those singer songwriters at the height of their creative powers he has sought to emulate.
–Folk North West, Summer 2007 (U.K.)
Jeff Talmadge stands in the shadow of great Texas songwriters. That has more to do with image than with songwriting skill. Talmadge doesn't have the aura of drama surrounding him like Guy Clark or Townes Van Zandt. That makes him not so much the hero of the Blue Highways crowd, but much more that of a small group of connoisseurs for whom the sound is more important than the image. On At Least That Much Was True, his sixth solo CD, traveling is the central theme, rounded out with reveries of love and some storytelling jewels in addition to a message. … Talmadge chooses quite different combinations of instruments [steel guitar and dobro of Lloyd Maines, accordion of Chip Dolan and harmonica of Rich Brock], each time with beautiful and solid guitar picking as the foundation…. [W]ith his demonstrated expertise over the past decade, he has by now earned a place on a stage like, for example, Blue Highways.
–Hanx, March 2007 (The Netherlands)
[4 stars] In the hit parade of our personal favorite singer songwriters [Jeff] advances a number of places … particularly warmly recommended!
–CtrlAltCountry, March 2007 (Belgium)
Gravity, Grace and the Moon received laudatory reviews, and with Blissville it was no different. Yet, I get the feeling that the praise by itself doesn't really bring an artist like this to the larger public. He is well known among music connoisseurs, but how about everyone else? Possibly this, his third CD [for Corazong] is headed for that [wider appreciation]. The really spectacular gathering of musicians, including Lloyd Maines, Bradley Kopp and John Gardner, immediately shows that the music can't be beat. The lovely, laidback sound that feels especially atmospheric is brilliantly sung with Talmadge's patented quiet voice. I find it altogether heart-rending. Jeff is a multitalented late-bloomer whom I compare effortlessly with established luminaries Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker and Steve Young. Again, a genuinely authentic storyteller who knows how to captivate and who deserves to be heard.
–Real Roots Café, March 2007 (The Netherlands)
Sixth album from the Texan poet, a worthy heir to Townes Van Zandt or Guy Clark.
–Blue Umbrella, April 2007 (France)
Talmadge's lyrics on these … songs are predictably strong….The songs are thematically pure, meshing roads and personal relationships flawlessly….The roads he travels are asphalt and concrete but are equally real as inner journeys.
–Buddy, June 2007 (U.S.)
[4 stars] Talmadge makes quiet music in the roots and country tradition and he does it excellently. He is surrounded by great musicians, and he has a wonderful voice himself. These facts, added to his experienced lyrics, … bring us a very beautiful album. His version of Dylan's "Girl of the North Country" is convincing, but the best songs are from his own hand.
–Heaven, April 2007 (The Netherlands)
Already an active lawyer and prize winning songwriter, [Jeff] now demonstrates his special skill in the music world.
–Musikarchiv Online, March 2007 (Germany)
Above all, [Jeff] is a passionate musician, with a singing and guitar style quite his own. At Least That Much Was True is a very pleasant mix of Americana, country and southern music, with a jazzy touch on "Chet Baker Street."
–SBStext (SBS Broadcasting), April 2007 (The Netherlands)
Jeff Talmadge has such a pleasant, warm voice that goes nicely in the winter by the fire, but also in the summer on a sultry evening….[H]e makes very beautiful songs with a country atmosphere, particularly the ones with steel guitar. His lyrics frequently have a slightly philosophical impact, and it's worth it to take the time to listen to what he has to tell.
–Folkforum, April 2007 (The Netherlands)
A real musical gem. [His] warm voice and beautiful arrangements are a real pleasure. This CD is another testimony to [his] talent.
–Radio ISA (M. Penard), April 2007 (France)
Great album! Our personal favorite is "Wrong Train." It chilled us to the bone.
–Texas Radio (Eddy and Ria Veldkamp), March 2007 (The Netherlands)
The new album from Jeff, in his characteristic country folk style….[He] does not have the same renown as Guy Clark or Townes Van Zandt, but he nevertheless draws from the same category of Austin songwriters. The melodic ballads benefit from the support Lloyd Maines' steel guitar, itself strong and beautiful, the best examples of which are "Let Her Go," Wrong Train" and "Austin When it Rains." It's time that one considers Jeff for the programming of the hexagonal festivals [the annual festivals in metropolitan France].
–Le Cris du Coyote, May 2007 (France)
"Then every broken piece fell into place" from the song "Train from Amsterdam" is more or less the key sentence on this CD. Jeff Talmadge doesn't wallow in misery. In calm, melancholic songs, this Texas singer-songwriter, blessed with a warm baritone, marvels at how life remains surprising….
–Noordhollands Dagblad, March 2007 (The Netherlands)
Jeff is a master storyteller, where, for example, "Train from Amsterdam" reminds me of Allan Taylor's "Crazy Amsterdam." … [A] gifted songwriter who knows how to work magic, let's not forget that these songs grow from the musical input of Rich Bowden, Rich Brock's magnificent harmonica, Tim Thompson and Bradley Kopp on guitars, David Webb on keyboards and Rand McCullough on back vocals.
–Mazz Musikas, (formerly Roots Town Music), No. 66 (The Netherlands)
Every year at the Riverbend Festival I run across one, sometimes two or three acts that totally enthrall me with their talents. Sometimes it takes a little while for such enthrallment to set in, to take hold - but not this time. Jeff Talmadge, a modern day minstrel currently hailing from Georgia, has left his imprint on me like inked remnants of scribbled masterpieces….Talmadge has a gift for parlaying the simple line of poetry into the profundity that it, invariably, becomes when a listener takes that line into his heart. I'm not exactly sure how this alchemy of simplicity and profundity occurs, but I know it does because I can hear it when it plays those heartstrings within. Talmadge may not know, either, but he has the gift, and he has offered to share it with the world….Talmadge does not seem to miss much in the way of observation….Depending upon the moment, the audience, and the songs chosen, Talmadge might be perceived as having a dark poet edge, with a streak of whimsy playing tug-of-war with his thoughts. While some of the songs … contain stark, sometimes devastating images, they seem to balance with the softer things of life. Jeff Talmadge's gifts for painting scenes with his words are immense. Songs that present some of the most complex issues we all face are handled with a philosophy that even a child could understand….If I could mine the "secrets" that allow such songs to be offered up, I would have to decline - for I would never want the vein of such a mother load of wisdom to run dry.
–Jay Mouton, The Chattanoogan, June 11, 2007
"Best of" List for 2004 –AltCountry.NL
Top 5 Singer-Songwriter Releases for 2004 –Ctrl.Alt.Country
No. 1 Real Roots Cafe Ultimate Collection, September 2004
No. 2 EuroAmericana Chart, September 2004
No. 9 Americana & Roots Top 13 (The Netherlands), October 2004
"Blissville is a testament to the songwriter's craft, poignant but never pedantic, sentimental without being mawkish, personal yet never oblique...This album is what you'd get if you combined the grittiness of Townes Van Zandt, the soul-searching of Richard Shindell, and the humanity of John McCutcheon, then seasoned it ever so slightly with John Prine-like wry commentary"
–The Hartford Advocate - July 2006
"[Talmadge] offers vivid, insightful, and clearly drawn characters with distinct, individual voices: a lover learning to let go, another learning to find love, a man musing on chances taken and those overlooked, a dry dirt farmer considering his lot, and a soldier deep in Christmastime reflection.... Talmadge brings his characters to life with a sense of presence and place.... Outstanding tracks include 40 Days of Rain, The Hard Part's Letting Go,and Midnight Flight." [FolkWax Rating: 8 out of 10].
–Folkwax - July 2006
“The gritty, country folk of Jeff Talmadge falls somewhere between Steve Earle and Waylon Jennings ….[He] captivates with his attention to lyrical detail and steady rhythms. The album’s crown jewel is the poignant “A Soldier’s Christmas,” in which Talmadge pours his heart into solo acoustic guitar …, reminding us that sometimes all you need to make a great song are three chords and the truth.”
-Performing Songwriter - July 2006 (U.S.) metinm
"A mix of old and new, Blissville is a perfect way to meet Jeff Talmadge and his songs. They have a way of sticking in your memory. "40 Days of Rain," the stunningly gorgeous "Wild and Precious Thing," and the intimate "Secret Anniversaries" are my favorites now.... Warm, caring performances throughout. An album both sweet and bittersweet."
–SingOut!, Summer 2006 (U.S.)
"Blissville is a gentle electric folk album filled with familiar themes handled well. Talmadge has an effective voice that at times reminds of a young Leonard Cohen. As a winner of the Academy of American Poets Award, it's not surprising his lyrics are more poetic -- more imaginative, clearer and concise turns of phrase -- than the typical singer-songwriter album....The music is consistently good....This is a well done CD that's already climbed onto the Roots Music Report, Freeform American Roots and Americana charts...."
–Buddy Magazine, May 2006 (U.S.)
"The first two songs on Blissville are enough to ... understand that we are facing a decidedly superior class of songwriter. Blissville is certainly among the discs of the year."
–Roots Highway, May 2006 (Italy)
"[On Blissville] the feel is seamless; the production, first-rate; the performance, thumbs-up....[Talmadge] lives by the lyric, has the melodic sensibility of the folk master and writes with the muse at his side."
–Frank Gutch, Jr., FAME (Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange) March 2006 (U.S.)
"Anyone who's hungry for some good new music of the Townes Van Zandt kind might like it..... Talmadge is obviously a craftsman, and songs like "40 Days of Rain" seem haunted by the small Texas towns where he grew up. The album as a whole plays/reads like a fine collection of Raymond Carver short stories...."
–M. Herring, Lone Star Webstation, March 2006 (U.S)
". . . I take a measure of hope from those songwriters whose work stands as literature. I've been listening to Jeff Talmadge's new record, Blissville, tonight. He's getting better with every record, with every song. Texas-born, Talmadge condenses dust to stone and, in his best writing, stone to diamond." (4 1/2 stars out of 5)
–Freight Train Boogie, February 2006
"Talmadge has made his best record yet with Blissville."
–Doug Lang, CFRO Radio, "Better Days"
"[Blissville] is a great disc."
–Randy Auxier, WDBX
"[This] Texan singer-songwriter writes strongly and powerfully . . . . I was very much taken with the warmth of Jeff's idiomatic, honest, intimate, sometimes half-spoken vocal style, and by his plain-speaking and simply evocative lyrics . . . . [A]lways better than likeable, . . . the more recent tracks in particular [are] really characterful in a soft-edged alt-country mode that's often reminiscent as much of the rootsy mid-period Band albums as anything else . . . . I can't quite fathom why he'd never appeared on my own personal radar before."
–David Kidman, NetRhythms (U.K.)
"His music fits in the singer/songwriter category on the borders where country meets folk . . . . These are story songs beautifully arranged with instrumental backings to suit the mood. A lovely album . . . . "
–Southern Country (U.K)
"… melancholic lyrics, half-spoken, half-sung with a warm baritone, with which he stands in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark … and it seems more and more he will end up in the top-drawer of the singer-songwriters guild."
"… lyrics that are strong in their simplicity and seemingly effortless . . ."
"Straight from the heart of Texas, the next troubadour. In the tradition of some better known Texas singer-songwriters … he plays sultry bballads, with instrumentation as tasteful as it is sturdy, and lyrical passages that are deserving of being quoted in their entirety."
–Elsevier Magazine (NL)
"… that rare combination of beautiful lyrics and strong melodies."
–Radio Beverwijk News (NL)
"… Talmadge belongs to the next generation of Texan singer-songwriters and proves with 'Blissville' that he is a great talent.
–Plato Mania E-zine (NL)
"Wonderful lyrics and melodies and a celestial voice....You don't often come across something more beautiful …"
"... intelligent and poetic lyrics... A very new pleasant music experience."
–Trots Allt (SE)
"[On 'Blissville,'] Talmadge moves gradually from his image of pure singer-songwriter to that of real roots artist …. [A] mandatory purchase for each credible songwriter collection."
Roots Town Music (NL)
"Driven craftsmanship …. His consistent style and quality become clear, just like on Gravity, Grace and the Moon …. The Texan evokes a feeling … that dovetails with Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark."
"Great musician, great sound, great CD. One of today's best singer-songwriters."
"Very, very beautiful CD .... "
"Every singer-songwriter should undoubtedly hear it .... [W]onderful."
"Class composer, strong singer-songwriter."
"He marches forward with his own style, taking you through the hard times and sorrows with his ballads, and embodying joy and gladness when he writes with celebration. A poetic singer-songwriter, whom you believe sight unseen."
"In this country, he's mostly unknown. But that should soon change …. [A] notable leap forward from last year's Gravity, Grace and the Moon ... One of the best singer/songwriter releases of the year."
–Good Times (Germany)
"… he belongs and thrives close to the heart of things; he is an acute observer of everyday life. But the simple tales of love and death are woven with the golden thread of a big talent .... What Talmadge does on Blissville is slowly draw you in, after awhile you become part and parcel of the experience and eventually you care desperately …."
–Americana–UK (United Kingdom)
"If there's one word related to folk music, it's 'honesty'. In the lyrics ... the acoustic accompaniment ... and the intimacy artists put in their songs ... Jeff Talmadge satisfies all the criteria .... Beautiful CD."
–Planet Internet (NL)
"He is spellbinding with calm and soothing songs ... [R]eally great, great storytelling music."
"Jeff Talmadge is the reincarnation of Townes Van Zandt ... but Talmadge is no cheap copy-cat. His songs and his voice are quite his own."
–"SvD: Recension"Skivor (SE)
"[T]his artist sure has something to say, and he doesn't have any commercial tricks up sleeves. The album really wins by playing over and over and over again."
–SV:SmÃ Ylandsposten (SE)
Gravity, Grace and the Moon
"If you're a sucker for guys like John Prine, Bruce Cockburn and Mark Knopfler . . . you will have a new friend in this American guy. Jeff has a cool voice and he's sure a good storyteller with cool lyrics and nice melodies. . . . . Jeff is a guy you MUST buy if you love John Prine ...and a guy you must check out if you like the other guys . . . ."
–Par Winberg, Melodic.net (2005)
"Singer-songwriter Jeff Talmadge works and writes in a vein similar to Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, using a minimal amount of words to convey a larger and thoughtful message . . . . Talmadge proves that he can more than hold his own against Austin's glut of singer-songwriters."
–Jason MacNeil, All Music Guide
"This is clearly a Texas singer/songwriter and carries on that fine tradition. He can create images like Townes, tunes like Guy Clark, but stays true to Jeff Talmadge. This album moves up a step from his fine last album. At this rate his next one will be perfect."
–Jason Wesley ~ FolkWax. May 2004 (read the whole review here)
"It does not get any better than this fourth release from Austin singer-songwriter Jeff Talmadge. Gravity, Grace, and the Moon is a tour de force of immeasurably well-crafted songs that envoke the most time-honored elements of the folk music tradition. Filled with unornamented melodies and homespun, ironical lyrics, Gravity, Grace, and the Moon is hands down one of the best folk albums of the year."
–Noel Lloyd - The Phantom Tollbooth January 2004 (read the whole review here)
"It's best if you get out of your own way," sings Jeff Talmadge in the song "Rose Tattoo" from his latest CD Gravity, Grace and the Moon. It may not sound like much more than a bit of sagely advice, but when heard in the context of the song -- a sparse, sublime ode to life's mysteries and endless fascinations -- it's enough to knock you on your ass. In fact, listening to Gravity it soon becomes apparent that there's not a misplaced word on the entire disc..."
–Blake Guthrie - Creative Loafing-Atlanta January 2004 (read the whole review here)
"(Gravity, Grace and the Moon) is an album that inveigles itself into your sub-conscious, and before you know it it’s the only thing you’ve played for a week. Highly recommended."
–Americana UK Reviews January 2004
"A great record to listen to."
–Illie Express (Netherlands) 2004
"This album is a masterpiece; it's enjoyable from start to finish."
–SingOut! (United States) Fall 2003
"Among my discoveries of the year ... a joy to listen to."
–Guntram Gudowius, Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange (United States) March 2003 (read the whole review here)
"Talmadge is about to end up in the top drawer of the singer-songwriter fraternity. This album has what it takes to achieve Talmadge's big breakthrough. Classic stuff!"
–Ctrl.Alt.Country (Belgium) March 2003
"His smooth sultry voice has an amazing quality uniquely his own…This CD will surely turn heads. Story telling with soul…Five stars."
–Roots Music Report (United States) April 2003
"Talmadge is one of the better singer/songwriters, who stylistically resembles Eric Taylor and Guy Clark, but with a fresh bluesy touch that we know from Bill Morrisey and Peter Keane…. [A] warm, relaxed baritone, more beautiful than most ….All thirteen songs are great."
–Heaven (The Netherlands) August 2003
"Jeff Talmadge is often called Austin's Best Kept Secret…lyrically he is one of the best, a true poet indeed, and a wonderful storyteller, in league with someone like David Olney, to whom he best may be compared."
–Bert van Kessel, Insurgentcountry.com May 2003
"This is clearly a Texas singer/songwriter and carries on that fine tradition. He can create images like Townes, tunes like Guy Clark, but stays true to Jeff Talmadge."
–Jason Wesley, FolkWax (United States) May 2003
"…an intimate style that invites the listener into the world of his stories….[T]hose who enjoy Jesse Winchester and Greg Brown will likely find much to enjoy…"
-Dirty Linen (United States) August/September 2003
"...one of the finest performing songwriters out there, combining poesy and ironic insight with fine musicianship."
–Mike Westerfield, Sisyphus Tracks (United States) March 2003
"I can't think of a higher compliment than to compare his albums to volumes of Raymond Carver short stories, and it's no stretch to imagine them being translated into Robert Altman films or 'little movies' by independent film makers."
–Marquetta Herring, Marq's Texas Music Kitchen (United States) February 2003
"…one of Austin's premier singer/songwriters... [This CD] places him in a breakout position. The images he draws with his words are exquisite, his phrasing effortless."
–Bill Groll, AustinAmericana.com (United States) March 2003
"He sees the most beautiful in the most ordinary things …A real poet just like Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt, …of the same class as Dylan, Kristofferson, Lovett, Cohen and Lou Reed."
–Country Gazette (The Netherlands) August 2003
"Jeff has some things to say, to tell, to share -- and he does it skillfully...This is a really beautiful record."
–Crossroads (France) March 2003
"Although he's not under the spotlight, he surely deserves to be… ["Gravity, Grace and the Moon"] is ... a real pleasure to hear ... cohesive, light and technically perfect."
–Florent DuFour, CountryGone.com (France) March 2003
"Exquisite lyrics and imagery."
–Buddy (United States) July 2003
"Gravity, Grace and the Moon (2003) is Jeff Talmadge at his best. A true poet, the fact that Talmadge expresses that poetry in music simply enhances the fine art of the storyteller that he has mastered."
–Virginia DeBolt, MusicAustin.com (United States) April 2003
"…a musical painter as well as a storyteller. If you enjoy the turn of a good lyric and tunes that are well delivered, then you'll probably love this album."
–Rambles (United States) July 2003
"Another gem from one of the finest songwriters on the present Texas music scene."
–Massimo Ferro, Radio Voce Spazio (Italy) March 2003
"Superb songs and great singing. No weak moments."
–Gerd Stassen, Radio EVW (Germany) March 2003
"Jeff shines on this beautiful album."
–Maurice Dielemans, KindaMuzik (The Netherlands) March 2003
"Jeff is a poet and fine craftsman of words … on the same wavelength as Guy Clark, John Prine and Townes Van Zandt … true and sincere emotions, always turning out inspired."
–LoneStar Time (Italy) August 2003
"A wonderful record to listen to."
–Folkforum.nl (The Netherlands) August 2003
"Jeff reminds us in his best moments of Townes Van Zandt and John Prine."
–Folker (Germany) July 2003 (read the whole review here)