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Artist:     Jon Klages Fabulous Twilight

Album:     Fabulous Twilight

Label:     Danbury Fair Records

Release Date:     4.1.21

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The first taste was almost free, as per usual with drug pushers. For the insanely low price of just a penny, a young Jon Klages innocently ordered 10 albums from a TV Guide ad, not knowing the scheme of the lighthearted nostalgia trip “God Bless the Columbia House Record Club” would set him on an addictive “road to ruin,” feeding his voracious “vinyl mania.” Swaying along to its twinkling, slightly countrified swing, the unrepentant record collector proudly boasts of still owning each and every one of them, and he is not about to go to rehab.

If all the seamless genre-bending that goes on with the alluring and easygoing Fabulous Twilight is any indication, the hours of deep, open-minded listening have not been in vain for Klages, formerly of ‘80s New Jersey indie-rockers The Individuals and an architect of the Hoboken Sound who later joined up with Television’s Richard Lloyd. At once familiar and a product of time-honored songcraft, but often transformed by subtle melodic unpredictability, the stylistically fluid set he has assembled with producer Todd Solomon can be playful and imaginative, as evidenced by the vintage espionage movie rumble of an upbeat, surf-rocking “Too Cool for Spy School” and the sly funky jazz of “Kazoos are People Too,” the two lively, entertaining instrumentals here. The fun does not end there, although the slow burning “Remains” and the bluesy, simmering “Red Dirt Country” are deadly serious.

Among the various and sundry musical potions of Fabulous Twilight, concocted from formulas that exist only in Klages’ mind and combine his myriad influences so elegantly, are the downy, boogie-woogie vamp “Long-Tailed Cat” and the dreamy pop of “1133 Ave. of the Americas (For Enoch Light),” a wondrous homage to Klages’ celebrated grandfather. With his tender croon moving effortlessly from pleading, soulful tenor to gossamer falsetto and gently washing across swooning, yet stylish, R&B ballads “Best That We Can” and “Rosalie,” Klages also gilds the lily with his golden guitar guile in such lovely, understated ways, especially when warmed by the glowing vocal harmonies of the Honey Whiskey Trio.

For Fabulous Twilight, Klages gathered an all-star lineup, made up of Elvis Costello band drummer Pete Thomas, hotshot bassist Davey Faragher, and keyboardist Neil Larsen, a piano man for all seasons, having played with greats like George Harrison, Rickie Lee Jones, and Leonard Cohen. Randy Newman, it seems, was not available for the lonely piano massaging of an affecting “Goin’ Home,” but it’s a fine imitation. The Twilight zone is the place to be.

—Peter Lindblad

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