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Michael Dean: Right Here for You

Although it is far more common for heavy arrangements to overwhelm a vocalist, the reverse is true on singer/songwriter Michael Dean’s Right Here for You (MMP/Moo MP-60022; 45:36). Dean’s core backing band-guitarist Bruce Saunders, bassist Tony Scherr and keyboardist Otmaro Ruiz-spin some warm, acoustic settings infused with world-beat percussive touches on songs like “Sadness in Your Eyes” and “More and More,” and his lyrics are sweetly upbeat. However, Dean’s voice is a flat-toned (in the James Taylor mode) tenor which is largely detached and unemotional, and not buoyant enough to carry off Nascimento-like stylings. Some strangely rushed phrasings on tracks like “From the Heart” make the vocals feel “added on” in places, as if the melody could have been carried in the instrumental. Add to those elements some slick, precious-sounding background vocals, and many of the warm arrangements turn strangely grating.

Originally Published