Billy Griffin - Like Water (2006)

Billy Griffin
BillyGriffin-Water.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

It has been 5 years since rumors of a new Billy Griffin album began circulating (often started by Griffin himself), so fans could be excused if they were less than convinced that Like Water would actually be released in June of 2006.  But the new disc has arrived, more than two decades after Griffin's last album, and is worth the welcome it will likely receive from Griffin's long-waiting fans.

It has been 5 years since rumors of a new Billy Griffin album began circulating (often started by Griffin himself), so fans could be excused if they were less than convinced that Like Water would actually be released in June of 2006.  But the new disc has arrived, more than two decades after Griffin's last album, and is worth the welcome it will likely receive from Griffin's long-waiting fans.

The best news is that Griffin's voice sounds unchanged by the years out of the studio, and his work on Like Water benefits from excellent vocal arrangements that highlight both his sweet falsetto and his long-underrated lower range.  But the songs are distinctly different than Griffin's 70s and 80s compositions.  The lyrical content on Like Water is the most mature of Griffin's career, with the often erotic themes of his Miracles work being replaced by more romantic stories focused on a man's emotional need for love. 

Griffin's musical writing has also changed, as Like Water has a slightly jazzy feel that would largely be at home in a smooth jazz radio format. It is maybe the least hooky album of his career but is nonetheless one of the most interesting.   The more immediately infectious tracks like "Oxygen" and the title cut are radio-ready, but others such as "All the Way to Love," "Livin' Deja Vu" and "Bad Karma" are more subtle musically, and become more engaging with repeated listenings.

The rest of the material on Like Water is listenable, if less memorable, but Griffin's voice is uniformly strong and keeps the album interesting, even on the weaker cuts.  In the end, Like Water a solid soul album and a very welcome return of a talented artist who was away for far, far too long.

By Chris Rizik

 
Song of the Month - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Featured Album - Nichelle Colvin - Welcome to Gary
Featured Album - Rahsaan Patterson - Heroes & Gods

Leave a comment!