Tulip Frenzy’s #3 Album of 2010: Kelley Stoltz’ “To Dreamers”

By what alchemy is it possible that Kelley Stoltz can produce these handcrafted geegaws, mostly playing the instruments all by himself, that still swing like a band playing after midnight, when the crowd’s gone home, just for the sheer joy of proving their craft?  Look, as some folks who hang out in these parts know, we believe an injustice was done to Kelley in 2008 when the jury at Tulip Frenzy awarded Bob Dylan Album Of  The Year honors for Tell Tale Signs, an album of older, unreleased tracks, while Stoltz’ Circular Sounds was clearly the best album recorded and produced in that year.  We would like, this year, to have awarded To Dreamers the laurels, but in the honors race, it was at best this year’s tribune, as the consulship was claimed, fair and square by someone else.  Look, here’s what Kelley Stoltz does: he writes songs that veer from Ray Davies-like storytelling perfection to whimsical explorations of oddball sounds, and makes albums that contain beauty, verve, and kicks.  That’s all.  And he does it with a sense of humor, but mostly the sense of dedication to craft normally thought to be the province of, say, that woman in Naples who spends her entire life sewing just button holes, nothing else.  Like Hans Chew (see below), Kelley Stoltz’s amazing To Dreamers is the kind of album that just doesn’t get made anymore.  Oh, sure, Prince can still crank out two, maybe three albums a day over in Paisley Park, without contact with a single other human being.  Stoltz’ work is more like that first John Fogerty album, that first Paul McCartney album, where an artist creates what he needs from the material he has: his own guitar, bass, and drums.  He does it his way.  We don’t want to emphasize solitude, because for all we know, Kelley may be the life of the party.  What we want to emphasize is craft, deliberation, artistic clarity, dedication.  All bundled up in album filled with whimsy, hooks, and rock’n’roll joy.

One Response to “Tulip Frenzy’s #3 Album of 2010: Kelley Stoltz’ “To Dreamers””

  1. […] have raved about Kelley Stoltz a time or two, given his records the highest marks on our 2010 and 2008 Top Ten Lists.  Somehow, even with all our raving, we have failed in getting him to […]

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