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CONNY OCHS (Raw Love Songs) LP/CD

Some of you will probably know Conny Ochs from his last year's tour with Scott 'Wino' Weinrich. Conny Ochs' performance made quite an impact, not only on the audience but also on Exile On Mainstream Records. Due to this reason, they took the opportunity to sign him and to release his debut album 'Raw Love Songs' at the beginning of 2011. I think this was a great idea, because the music of Conny Ochs deserves more attention. The ten tracks on this album are stripped down to the minimum. All you'll primarily hear is a man and his guitar, which is a very good thing, because he has the stuff that a good singer/songwriter needs. Sure, there are other artists who have great voices and beautiful guitar playing but Conny Ochs has something more. Maybe it's the melancholy, maybe it's the brief moments of optimism, but something about his music pulls you in and makes it hard for you to want to leave. He goes deep into feelings but without sticky sentimentalism.

Apart from the rock 'n' roll influence, there is a lot of folk in his songs, but nonetheless 'Raw Love Songs' is far from being a kitschy and hippie-esque record. It's more like a darkly discolored trip through the realms of love that convinces by some kind of mysterious truthfulness. Without doubt, the raw strength of his work touched me extraordinarily. His voice carries more authenticity than 1000 of today's melodramatic vocalists and the impeccable, sparse arrangements are spot on. This album is comforting in its melancholia but it doesn't leave you feeling suicidal or drags you down, because you listen to it and know there's someone out there who has probably felt your feelings and given voice to your thoughts. What I also like very much is the outlaw vibe of 'Raw Love Songs'. Conny Ochs demonstrates impressively that it is still possible to write songs about love without sounding like a complete idiot. Not everyone can say the same. This is an amazingly good album and one which will shine for many years to come. It is melodic, balanced and varied, gorgeously wrought, full of mystery, and at times, full of joy.