on December 14, 2008
Singer/songwriter Denis Moreau has been around for quite a while. He toured and released indie CD's and tapes for many years under the rather hippie-ish moniker of Brother Peaceful, and was called Peaceful for short. In recent times he's been using his own name, but the vibe is the same.
Moreau is from the Pete Seeger school of "have guitar, will travel". He turns up anywhere and everywhere, acoustic guitar in hand - and suddenly any gathering becomes a more joyous occasion.
"Pearl Without A Price" is, I believe, his only recording on which he's accompanied by a low-key band. In addition to his usual guitar and harmonica, there's also upright bass, dobro, drums and percussion. As always, his song topics are of a questing, spiritual nature. There's a couple tracks on here with a Native American theme, but most are thoughtful examinations of his own inner-life. He doesn't shy away from tackling the "big questions" that have baffled man and woman-kind since time immemorial - like "What really constitutes spiritual life and how best to go about it"? Indeed, he even seems to have arrived at some answers. But he's not preachy, preferring instead to view these subjects through a more personal prism.
Of his many recordings, this is one of his best. Beautifully sung and written. The stretching of a vowel here and there has resulted in more than one Bob Dylan comparison - and yes, he's a fan. Almost every Moreau performance I've seen has contained a Dylan song or two. But like John Prine, for instance - he's taken Dylan influence in his own direction with his own emphasis - and has become his own man.
Having said that, if you enjoy Dylan's spiritual trilogy (which I do) of "Slow Train Coming", "Saved", and "Shot Of Love" - then you're almost certain to like "Pearl Without A Price".
P.S. - At this writing, this is the only Denis Moreau CD available on Amazon (for downloading, too). I was happy to see it so I could buy it, but wondered if he'd released anything since. I wrote to him at the e-mail address that's printed on the CD itself, and have since obtained from him his latest titled "Borrowed Goods". It's another excellent collection of original material, and a return to his solo acoustic guitar/harmonica format. Hopefully, a major label will someday have the good sense to sign him. Support a troubadour today!
on November 26, 2006
I purchased this CD from Denis. He came into my office in Gainesville, FL and sold it to me! I have had it for at least a year and a half. It gets quite a bit of use. As the other reveiwer stated it is somewhat Dylanesque. But quite different! Spiritually deep. He was a very pleasant gentleman and I enjoyed speaking with him. The music is quite varied, but it is all wonderful.