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Robert Gomez

Etherville(Basement Front Records)

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Robert Gomez's guitar is comfortable wherever it lands, whether in the slither of the Dallas-based dance combo Rob G and the Latin Pimps, the tight conservatory jazz in the Robert Gomez Trio, or the diffuse sunshine in the "Morning on the Brownstone Stoop" songwriter jazz perfected by Norah Jones. (Jones, not coincidentally, contributes backing vocals to "Happiness Today," one of the best tracks here.) Etherville's title is hardly arbitrary. The songs -- especially "Nocturne," "Love Song" and "Lullaby" -- have a sugary, dreamlike luster and share as much in common with pop maestros Jason Falkner and Matthew Sweet as they do with anything coming out on Blue Note. Gomez's hushed, gruff vocals and nylon-string quietude mourn love lost and complicated departures over an ever-shifting backdrop of pizzicato string sections, accordion sobs and electric-piano touches. The mix evokes the most familiar (and rainy) mid-'60s French film landmarks in a way that doesn't -- like so many other pretty, gentle recordings -- simply disappear into the mist. Hear for yourself when Gomez plays the Hurricane Saturday.

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