Blue Moon (Curb Records)
Steve Holy's debut announces its intentions right up front. The opening title cut, a melancholy ballad, eases us into an album which dwells, often beautifully, on the bitter sweetness of love.
Broken hearts are everywhere on Blue Moon. "Tear One" is a traditional weeper (literally) about a relationship that was doomed as soon as it began, while "Cold Kisses," like the title song, calls on the moon as an image of isolation, even as it rides a seductive, insinuating groove. Even when he gets the girl - or, rather, the girl gets him - in the Holy-penned "Someone's Out To Get Me," there's an air of foreboding, almost dread, in both the music and in Steve's voice.
"Just A Kiss" is the album's peak. It's a testament to helplessness in the face of love so firmly, and endearingly, in the Roy Orbison mold that it's a shame Orbison himself isn't around to cover it. Steve can walk in such legendary footsteps without embarrassing himself, which testifies as well as anything to his vocal skills.
Blue Moon's blue mood is so compelling that the album's few moments of relative cheer are woefully out of place - the romping whatta-gal song "She's So" just feels forced, and the glowing optimism of the closing "Good Morning Beautiful" sounds hollow after the pain which preceded it.
Still, for most of his debut album's running time, those among us who know heartbreak on a first-name basis will find a kindred spirit in Steve Holy.
-- Chris Neal.